With more than 513 million internet users, according to the 29th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China by the CNNIC, China is by far the world’s largest online market. Although already being the undisputed global champion in terms of number of netizens, China’s online population just keeps growing due to the country’s massive scale.
Concurrently, the technological infrastructure is improving at the same pace as the increase of its user base, meaning that the internet, especially the usage of it, has become much more sophisticated and is continuously evolving – particularly exemplified by the Chinese’s embrace of online shopping. In fact, a September 2011 study of online buyers worldwide conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 86 percent of China’s nearly 200 million online shoppers considered themselves experts at ecommerce, compared to 70 percent in the UK and 72 percent in the US, notes eMarketer.
With an average of a staggering 8.4 online purchases per month by the vast country’s online buyers, China makes developed Western internet economies look like ecommerce newcomers. For comparison, online buyers in the US made an average of 5.2 purchases, while in France and Netherlands this number was as low as 2.6.
China’s scale, combined with its online population’s embrace of online shopping, present an unprecedented window of opportunity for international businesses. However, setting up a business and subsequently succeeding in a country where almost everything is different will prove challenging. Strict internet censorship, outspoken cultural differences and tedious bureaucratic processes are just some of the issues companies need to overcome when entering China’s online market, yet the financial potential seems to outweigh the obstacles likely to be encountered along the way.
WebCertain has compiled a guide/report on how to do business in China. Go to Global Central, request an invite and gain access to a wide range of SEM and social media insights.
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