Simplified Chinese (Mainland China) SEO and Internet Marketing

Mainland China’s e-commerce market is growing by unprecedented levels each year, fuelled by an internet explosion in the midst of sweeping economic reforms; in 2008 it was announced that China now has the worlds largest internet population. As an offshoot, the Chinese B2C internet retailing market is doubling itself year after year, boosted by cheaper product prices and hassle-free transactions, rapidly rising Chinese credit card penetration, favourable Chinese government policies (towards an free open market) and an overall change in the Chinese consumer outlook. Many online operators are developing Chinese websites and Chinese SEO campaigns.

Quick Summary:

Number of Chinese internet users: 123 million 

Chinese broadband access: 16.5 per 1000 people

Most popular local Chinese search engine: http://www.baidu.com

Most popular Chinese website: http://www.sohu.com 

Credit card penetration in China: 3%

Chinese e-commerce spend (latest data 2004): US $ 53.14 billion

Number of Chinese who have bought online (2006): 30 million

As of 2005, and measured on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis, China was the world’s second largest economy behind the USA, and growing at a very fast pace. According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database dated September 2006,China’s GDP at current prices for 2006 stood at US $ 2,554.2 billion, growing by 14.3% over 2005 China estimates. July 2004 data for the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) has estimated that the total number of Chinese online in Mainland China was 87 million. In July 2006, according to the same source, the total number of Chinese internet users reached 123 million, comprising roughly 9.4% of the Chinese population for the same period. The World Bank - ICT Database also estimates China’s total number of internet users at 73(per 1000) in 2004, having risen sharply from 18(per 1000) in 2000.

* CNNIC Figures for Mainland China only (2004)

** China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) data (2006)

According to CNNIC data again, China’s total number of broadband users stood at 77 million in July 2006, while World Bank ICT estimates for 2004 has put China’s broadband penetration rate at an untapped 16.5 per 1,000 people, with China’s mobile and fixed line subscribers (per 1,000 people) also standing at 241 and 258 in 2004 respectively. As of 2004, 73% of the China’s population was covered through mobile telephony as well.

The World Bank ICT database also points out that China’s personal computer usage stood at 40(per 1,000 people) in 2004, an increase of 150% over a small base from 2000 figures. According to China’s Ministry of Information and Industry, China’s total number of mobile wireless subscribers increased to 443 million by the end of September 2006, driven by rural penetration and an increasing number of Chinese consumers opting for more than one mobile phone. The total number of Chinese fixed lines subscriptions also reached 369 million by the end of the same period.

http://www.baidu.com is China’s most popular search engine. In 2006 the other popular Chinese search engines were http://www.163.com, http://www.21cn.com, http://www.ahshun.com, http://www.chinaburst.com, http://www.cseek.com, http://www.howhunt.com, http://www.searchchina.com, http://www.sina.com.cn, http://www.surfchina.com, http://www.cn.asiaco.com, http://www.balaa.com, http://www.chinascape.org, http://www.cn.yahoo.com, http://www.searchdragon.com, http://www.sohoo.com.cn

CNNIC’s July 2006 report also illustrates that 30 million Chinese buy online, a growth of 50% over 2005. According to market research firm Shanghai iResearch’s estimates, despite security concerns still prevalent for trading, the total Chinese e-commerce trading volumes in China has reached 440 billion Yuan (US $ 53.14 billion) in 2004, which is expected to increase to 620 billion Yuan (US $74.88 billion) by 2005. By 2005 end, China’s B2C market itself had reached US $504 million, growing by 32.6% over the preceding year,. Increased e-commerce activity in China’s manufacturing and IT sectors by big Chinese industrial conglomerates like the Haier Group has also contributed to significant B2B expenditure. China-based consulting firm Analysys International has estimated that in the third quarter of 2006, Chinese B2C and C2C (customer to customer) services had a transaction value of 945 million Yuan (US $ 118.6 million) and 6.456 billion Yuan (US $ 810.2 million), respectively.

Post China’s much awaited entry into the WTO regime and an economic boom transforming China and turning it into a global economic powerhouse, the future of cost effective and convenient offshore internet retailing looks extremely promising. To this effect, global internet giants like eBay Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have already made a foray into China, with a combined US $375 million investment to strategically acquire Chinese domestic start-ups, with other big and small offshore internet retailers also rapidly joining the bandwagon, in order to get a foothold in this huge untapped market before others follow suit.

Reference Sources/Further Readings:

1. IMF World Economic Outlook Database

2. China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) - ‘Statistical Survey Report on the Internet Development in China’, dated July 2006

3. Ministry of Information and Industry, China-October 2006

4. http://www.webmasterworld.com

5. http://www.cia.gov - The World Factbook

6. http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com

7. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) / http://www.internetworldstats.com

8. MIT report: “Economic Analysis of Wireless Point of Sale Payment in China” - August 2004

9. Dow Jones, September 2004 report

10. American Express, May 2005 report

11. http://www.digitimes.com

12. Analysys International, November 2006 report

13. http://www.china-netinvestor.blogspot.com