By now everyone knows that China has a large population of internet users. By 2016 it is anticipated that China will have over 730million internet users: almost double that of the USA. This makes it a safe bet that your target market is online (source: Forbes). A Chinese website allows you to connect with them in the way they want you to.
So how do you make sure that your website gives Chinese internet users exactly what they want? What are your potential customers going to expect from your site?
If you’ve already decided to invest in Chinese website design, you are already doing well. Chinese consumers will expect you to talk to them in their language. And why wouldn’t you? Important messages can get lost in translation, and your target market will feel alienated. You don’t want to force your customers to have to speak your language. They will be more likely to simply go to another company more sympathetic to their needs. A Chinese website is the smart choice.
By June 2014, in China 81% of internet users are mobile (source: CNNIC). Domestic manufacturers have worked hard to make their devices cheap in order to compete with bigger global brands, so plenty of people have access to them. If your website is not fully responsive, you are alienating a huge portion of your target market. Chinese users will expect to be able to view your site on their mobile. Some of them may be happy – or at least begrudgingly willing – to navigate your desktop site on their phone. Most people won’t bother, however. Get a responsive site and mobile devices will be your friends.
Chinese netizens are very different from those in the West. Here, we use the internet to buy a wide range of goods, and are happy to give our card details out to lots of various sites. Chinese consumers are more cautious, especially considering 30% of all online shoppers had been the victim of a scam by 2011, losing a collective 30billion yuan (source: Danwei). If you want to build a relationship of trust with your potential customers, offer them secure payment options that they trust, such as Alipay, Tenpay, or UnionPay.
When companies look for translation, they are often looking for a foreign language version that is as close as possible to the original. The problem with this is that different cultures use language and words differently. The perfect paragraph of sales copy in English may be flat, uninteresting, or off-putting when translated into Chinese. When thinking about translation, remember that your copy has to sell your company and product. A translator should use your content as a reference point, and translate your sales messages and company voice, as well as the actual words they have been given. And don’t forget the need for relevant keywords in Chinese.
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