Photo: Ant Rozetsky

Some develop real estate | We develop real ationships

Business mentors, advisers, consultants. NZ Managed, registered Digital Marketing and IT firm since 2003
China Bound

Relationship Marketing NZ Brands in China

Support and consultancy for NZ firms aiming for success in China

Made in New Zealand | Loved in China

Business mentors, advisers, consultants. Beijing based, NZ owned, managed,registered. Friendly, free support, advice, back up for launching your Kiwi brand in China.

There are two obstacles on the express way to success in China:

  • Marketing
  • Psychological

selected bicyu clients logos

Marketing is the easy part.

Index

Index

China is difficult, an understatement, constantly changing, opaque and contradictory sometimes. It is an uneven, unfair playing field, survival of the fittest.
This page is part of our consultancy or mentor support for NZ biz thinking of China, a reference as needed.
If you have questions related to your brand or business in China and want an answer now, we'd love to hear from you, just press the button below


Caution

Word to the Wise

G'day, my name is Peter Bicknell; Peter Bicknell: Bicyu co-founderborn in UK, grew up in NZ, washed up in China 2001. My Chinese partner and founded a digital marketing company in 2003, today, along with a great little team of Chinese people we are known as Bicyu.

China; exciting, frustrating, challenging, rewarding, different. The last word is important, to succeed here, be prepared to relearn. Keep your ears and eyes open, ask questions, trust no-one until proven. In China EVERYONE is an expert, cheats and scams are a part of life here. Business is no different.

As WeChat moves global, opportunists move with it setting up camp in NZ or wherever taking advantage of locals lack of China business acumen.
We cover this in more detail in this article.

There is, unfortunately, a mindset among many foreign brands looking at expansion in China that Chinese are begging for quality foreign brands and will willingly pay a premium, even extortionist price for them. Taking candy from a babe.
That is an urban myth - We talk about that here.
So doing business in China is fraught with scams, cheats and ignorance. But it need not be, I have proved it

NZ Bicyu was developed to counter this, to provide NZ firms with a mentoring or China business consultancy, support and advice service so you can make informed decisions.

We can't cover everything is a single site, plus change is frequent, so articles here are based on what we find clients might not be aware of or have not taken into consideration. Please feel free to contact us for free bespoke advice. If, on the other hand, you have done your home work and are searching for a reputable, reliable English speaking marketing partner with a foot in both cultures, then please select "Our Brands" - below - and press an image

Our Brands
Bicyu digital marketing

Bicyu Digital Marketing

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China Digital Marketing Company

The issue with Marketing in China is not just language. Limits and controls on information, seemingly familiar Apps, all demand a different mind set and thinking for success in China.

You need an experienced partner to guide you. China Marketing Planning, Strategy, DB, Research, Analytics, Web|App Development, Baidu Optimisation, SEM, Wiki, Social Media, SaaS, all in a days work for Bicyu.

link to wechat Operation.com

China Social Mobile

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Managed WeChat Content Marketing

China has a plethora of social platforms but WeChat is the reigning Queen. It would be hard to over estimate its power and importance as a Marketing tool in China, fatal to underestimate it.

You really do need to have a highly skilled, cutting edge WeChat operation team working for or with you. This is underscored when major Chinese brands engage us to operate their WeChat OA.

link to Ande Digital Marketing.com

安德数字营销公司

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Ande Digital Marketing

Bicyu began in 2003 as WPBeijing, a Chinese registered marketing company.
Initially we focussed on research and analysis for Chinese brands expanding into digital, mobile marketing, Baidu optimisation, training and SaaS.

Ande is our orignal Chinese version of WPBeijing Digital marketing, if Chinese is not a strong suit, maybe better to skip~

link to Shirt Sleeve Seminars.com

Angel Training /

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Angel Mentor Coaching

Digital Marketing is fluid, constantly changing, especially in China. it is easy for your in-house teams to fall behind and lose their edge

Apart from Seminars, Webinars and lectures, Angel Mentoring places specialist experts beside your people, on location, training them on the job so they learn while doing. We help them gain deeper understanding of Optimisation, SEM, Social Media, Data, English for business or bespoke courses.

NZ in China

NZ in China

Chinese view NZ as kind, hospitable, laid back, producers of quality food and products generally well received here. However, besides language, culture and values need to be considered; running a campaign along FB or Twitter lines would be an error.

In a little more than a decade, Chinese consumers have changed, matured, become better educated and demanding. The days when service was a term in tennis, one colour, take it or leave it are gone. Chinese can now afford the best, and won't settle for anything less. Shell B Wright Co will not survive here.

China's economy is slowing, but domestic consumption is rising, there are still glorious opportunities for NZ firms, if they keep an open mind and adopt different strategies.

More

It may seem contradictory, even counter productive, but for success in China, avoid the top tier cities. Instead, target any of the 15 second tier, or even third level cities - Why?

"Better to be a big fish in small pond than a small fish in a big pond." Rents, utilities and sometimes labour costs are higher in top cities where competition is brutally fierce. 2nd or 3rd level provinces comprise around 20% of the population, probably more than enough for most NZ SME's to begin with. Contrary to expectations, the % of disposable income is greater in lower tier cities.
However, the reverse is true when choosing China marketing partners, top cities usually have better talent.

The above is a general guide, please contact us for a free evaluation, assessment specific to your business in China or a premium indepth report and proposal.

Photo: JJ YingJinasu, a China 2nd tier city, where business opportunities are high

Jiangsu, Eastern Central province, Venice of China, leader in finance, edu, tech and tourism: capital Nanjing. Third smallest, but the fifth most populous and the most densely populated of the 23 provinces with the highest GDP per capita of Chinese provinces.
Source: Wikipedia

Summary

Summary

For many NZ SME's the door to China seems impenetrable but that doesn't have to be the case. A good brand with a well thought out marketing plan can succeed here. However, it does mean stepping outside their comfort zone, accepting China has changed and adopting a different way of thinking.

Even so, they are still faced with an alien landscape; lack of transparency and genuine info, a more hostile and seemingly unregulated environment and marketing tools which seem familiar but with which they have no experience. As a young company back in 2003, we have been there, done that and.... succeeded. Let's help you?

There is a myriad of tools in China, but the two most likely to initially be used by New Zealand firms in China are Baidu and Wechat so we shall take a quick overview of those.

WeChat OA

WeChat OA|Official (Business) Account

WeChat: China's beloved App, GOTO tool for brands and customers in China. Prized for ease of use, multi-functionality, SMS, games, chat, push to send messages and voice, E-wallet, news, E-comm.

Businesses love WeChat OA for it's user data collection, closed loop, analytics, collaborative work teams, E-POS marketing material via QR codes and ability to build one’s own App running inside OA.

Which is why the most successful brands in China place a strong emphasis on a dedicated, robust WeChat Mobile marketing strategy.

However, it does demand experience and skills to fully exploit its capabilities.

WeChat vs Facebook image
More
WeChat Marketing image

Imagine you are fishing for trout. Where are you going to set up camp, Gobi desert or Lake Taupo? Silly question.
Remember the old sales axioms: “Fish where the fish are.” or "You can’t be in business today, use yesterdays tools and hope to be in business tomorrow.”
In other words, if we have to spell it out, if you want to sell [successfully] to Chinese, you need to be where they are, and that means on WeChat.

Failure to use the App's data to personalise and strategically target your marketing is no better than spamming setting your brand up for disillusionment and frustration.

WeChat, a WhatsApp clone and Messenger look-alike - or was. Today it has morphed to include the same functionality of almost every western social media app.

WeChat is extremely user friendly, look around, you will see Chinese from 8 to 88 engrossed in WeChat.

The App's dashboard is the key to gold, experienced operators can analysis and apply the data to target marketing content specifically to users needs.

Paradoxically though as a business tool, WeChat is not so user friendly needing practice, experience and time, something most SME's are short of.

One solution to this is WeChat Operation a Bicyu subsidiary providing cost effective, flexible, bespoke kickstarters to get your WeChat OA up and firing.

Baidu

Baidu - Optimisation|SEM

Let's address the inevitable Elephant

When most people think of Web page and optimisation their automatic reaction is SEO.

If this is your response to BAIDU and we page optimisation then perhaps you need to read Baidu China Optimisation because SEO has changed. So should your thinking.

Although distinctly different, and more difficult to work with, than Google, Baidu is still Googlesque in some of its ways, therefore one needs to optimise for the reader or audience, not just the search bot. Bicyu refers to this as WPO - Web Page Optimisation - an holistic approach.

Of course technical optimisation, meta tags, links is still critical, but today search bots read from a human perspective to assess your SERPS or page rank. Baidu is critical to your China marketing, yet anything Baidu related is complex, even for Chinese brands, you can't afford risks with DIY or unscrupulous operators. If you need a trusted Baidu professional, give Bicyu a call, we only work with the best.

Baidu SEO|Optimisation image

A quick search for Baidu SEO throws up overwhelming results, a lot of it conflicting, there is a reason for this. Firstly, SEO has always attracted the smoke and mirror cheats, black magic and witchcraft! Secondly, like most things, digital in China is in a constant state of flux, black today, red tomorrow, lastly Baidu is perhaps not as transparent as Google so opportunities for creative selling are rife.

Honey, we need to talk

Market to THEIR culture, not yours

We said marketing is the easiest of 2 challenges. What do we mean?

Well, if you hadn't noticed, Asian people are different to us, different language, different culture, different mind set, different values.

On the street, they have a sense of urgency, hurried, more purposeful than we laid back Kiwis. They regulate their children's free and study time more and place different emphasis on some aspects of life.

Maybe we laugh and say: "When in NZ do as we do."
Easier said than done.

If you have ever travelled, I don't mean the Big OE to UK when you were 20 something, but actually lived in a foreign culture such as Asia or the Mid East you would have taken your Kiwi culture with you.

Once the initial "WOW" followed by the inevitable homesickness wears off, your culture becomes your life line and security blanket, your survival kit, a coping mechanism. It is hard to "grow out of."

So, what am I saying?
If you want to sell to Chinese you must consider their culture in your marketing, not arrogantly expect them to adapt to yours, which is just as hard for brands to adjust to as well.

But tread cautiously, there is an ultra fine line between between adjusting and pandering or worse, patronising.

Cultural arrogance is something many brands innocently fail to consider when marketing on their home turf and survive, but to fail to accept it when marketing overseas is suicidal. But that's common sense, isn't it?

You would think so, yet brands come to China trying to use the same strategies as elsewhere, mostly those with Anglo Saxon heritage.
China is different, different from NZ, different from Japan, Singapore and Korea, yes, in some ways, different even from Taiwan.
In short: develop a totally China centric marketing plan and strategy.

The Challenge of China

The Challenge of Thinking Differently

The ability to step out side your own culture and think differently is what we mean by the psychological challenge of succeeding in China.
China came to digital marketing late, quickly caught up and moved ahead developing home grown social platforms, initially copies of western models, developed to be very uniquely Chinese.
So an added challenge for foreign brands; they not only need to operate and think in an alien culture, but also face unfamiliar tools.

Chinese are now in love, en masse- with their mobile, especially WeChat, electing what they want to do, see and hear, in their time. Mobile in China has changed the way they interact, with each other, with news, music, entertainment, relaxation and in particular, with Brands. Millions of eyeballs no longer glued to 6pm news, WeChat circles update it as it happens. Chinese consumers can now do - almost- everything on their mobile via WeChat, it is an indispensable tool. This is the "New" China media.
The battle for cash in the till in China will be fought, lost or won with new media on mobile. Brands that treat their fans as individuals and build relationships will survive

New media spawns new thinking from every part of your campaign, from strategy, planing, every customer touch point. Apps; brand, customers working together, every detail in each piece of marketing material not just customer friendly but accurately segmented, dovetailing smoothly into their lives, like hand in a soft silk glove. Relevant marketing content, useful, valuable to customers lives, developing personal engagements, on line conversations enabling us to win their minds and hearts, earn their respect, and love.
It means planning and orchestrating your marketing around your customer.

Marketers need to respect potential consumers; no longer take their love or support for granted, listen acutely, selectively, critically to comprehend what customers do and want; how we can fit into their lifestyle. Craft thoughtful, meaningful stories and experiences which resonate with your Chinese readers drawing on data and creativity to construct a passion fuelled relationship germinating customer love, loyalty and support.

Bicyu Aims

Aim and Values

Our Aim is what we do, our values are how we do it

Our exclusive brands and partners demystify and remove the uncertainty, risk and confusion from marketing to Chinese. Web Products, Apps, Baidu, WeChat Official Accounts, SaaS, Angel Training, our one aim is to make it easier for you to get started here and grow your China business.

We envisage and realise marketing experiences, delighting people, satisfying clients, bringing NZ businesses closer to Chinese consumers. Data informed, content driven, we create marketing for people. We create love. We create loyalty.

We do this with transparency, honesty, integrity and respect, please read our 13 stars philosophy

About Bicyu

Brief Intro

Launched as WPBeijing in 2003, NZ Bicyu today is the corner stone supporting a network of inter-related Digital Mobile Marketing services catering to brands aspiring to develop and grow their reputation, awareness and loyalty in the China market.

Bicyu is a hybrid, Kiwi owned, Beijing based, we are local in both countries~ Living and working here, finger on the pulse of Marketing to Chinese, at the same time understanding how NZ SME's think, problems they face.

Bicyu is a relationship marketing team, not a social media ad company, we make

Arriving in Korea in 2000 I found marketing behind what I knew in NZ, today Asia leads the world. China is a totally different challenge, a different mindset, what works in Japan, Korea, even Taiwan is unlikely to work here.

Chinese culture is mobile social driven, Apps like WeChat, Baidu do not conform to western experiences, rules are not the same, the playing field is uneven, constantly changing. It can be a nightmare for those unprepared, and unwilling to learn or compromise.

Coming with an aggressive hard nosed win/ lose attitude will fail, sensitivity and a win / win mentality reaps rewards as France and Germany know. Chinese today are proud of their country, their culture their achievements; fail to understand or respect that, you are doomed.

Connect with Bicyu
Photo: Raw Pixel

Need a lift?

Questions, need clarification? We know, we went down the same route starting up here. If we don't know, we will know someone who does. Drop us a line, or WeChat - yuyishan943492 [in English] - to connect.

NZ Registered Office:

9A South Road, Kuripuni, Masterton 5810, NZ
Company Name: BICYU DIGITAL MARKETING LIMITED Company Number: 6268694; NZBN: 9429046080950 Entity Type: NZ Limited Company

China Regd Office:

8/816 Flytown, 3 Yumin Lu, Houshayu, Capital Airport Development Zone, Shunyi, Beijing; Subway Line 15, Houshayu Station. Visitors very welcome, but by E-mail appointment please.

China West [Visitors] Office :

京海淀区清华科技园大厦TusPark B座 B1 层J; Building 1, TusPark B, Tsinghua Science Park, No.1 East Zhongguancun Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100084 (Light Railway Line 13, Wudaokou Station, Exit A

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