Last year, China ranked third amongst the largest digital and technology investments, on top of being the largest e-commerce market globally with almost 40% of total e-commerce transactions worldwide. Additionally, 50% of the 1.35 billion population has enabled e-commerce to grow exponentially over the last 15 years, largely due to the emergence of mobile payment applications: Tencent’s ‘WeChat’ and Alibaba’s ‘Alipay.’ With that thought in mind, here is how China became the top dog in digital marketing and how they reshaped the landscape:

1. Chinese Social Media Dominates Western Markets

Due to its integration of micropayments and messaging, WeChat is leading the market, that it currently supports the fifth largest online community throughout the globe – after Facebook, YouTube, QQ, and WhatsApp. It should be noted that WeChat’s growth rate is exceptional: within 3 years, the mobile application scored 600 million active users, with an average growth rate of 40% annually. This is largely because WeChat offers a multitude of services for users such as playing games; cab booking; buying tickets; shopping and sending money to friends; coupled with its integration of banking, e-commerce, and social media.

2. Cashless Payment Is The Way Of The Future

While western marketers are still familiarizing themselves with QR codes, Southeast Asian marketers have made it a point to include the distinctive black and white images in their arsenal that it can be found on billboards and products throughout the region. This is partly due to WeChat’s adoption as rather than using cash or credit card, consumers have the option to pay for their goods via QR code – ushering in a new and innovative era of cashless payment.  Meanwhile, in 2015, Alibaba launched its Dotless Visual Codes for brands to print on their product packaging, which enables consumers to check the product’s authenticity, obtain its information, discounts, and recommendations via their mobile phone.

3. China’s Unique Market + Vast Population = Business Opportunity

China is home to 620 million online users and companies hailing from Australia, Hong Kong, United States as well as Asia Pacific region are looking to innovate their digital strategy to penetrate the Chinese market. China recognizes its vast population and power in the business landscape, especially e-commerce. That is why China was able to shape their market in such a unique way, that foreign companies who are looking to invest or penetrate their market are demanded to do business and strategize digital marketing plans “The China Way.” In other words, China highlighted the importance of personal digital marketing to appeal to the market as well as consumers.

4. M-Commerce Is Booming Rapidly

Chinese marketers identified that most consumers are spending more time on their mobile phones. As soon as they recognized the opportunity, they deduced that the most convenient way to reach potential customers is via their mobile phone. Upon seeing immense potential in mobile commerce or M-Commerce, which is the act of buying and selling things through wireless portable gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets, China began offering innovative ways to provide a seamless M-commerce experience to its consumer such as user-friendly mobile applications with multiple screen integration. To elucidate their success; M-commerce platforms such as WeChat, Lazada, and Shopee have grown to be some of the go-to M-commerce platforms for brands to launch their micro-stores within the application itself.


It cannot be denied that China is indeed the leader in digital marketing as its ability to identify gaps and turn them into opportunities has benefited their e-commerce industry and the country’s economy. Like many countries, businesses and industry leaders throughout the globe are looking at China for inspiration, we similarly took notice and made a point to learn the Chinese way to do digital marketing.

If you are looking to kick your digital marketing performance up a gear, then let our digital marketing whizz wow you with their knowledge and experience. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your business bloom.