China is constantly in the news at present due to its phenomenal economic expansion. With more and more businesses wanting to invest in China and more Chinese businesses wanting to export abroad, the Chinese market is booming. In short, China is on the fast-track to becoming a world economic heavyweight.
The potential for lucrative business ventures within the country are unquestionable. One avenue that offers businesses huge inroads into the country is the internet. A Chinese website, properly structured and considered, provides a point of contact to millions of potential new clients and customers. All the signs are pointing to the fact that companies that act now in getting their websites translated into Chinese and properly marketed using local search engines, stand the best chance of capitalizing on a fairly young economic gold mine.
Looking at recent business activity and reports from China, the internet is looking strong and healthy. Both Google and Yahoo! are now involved with the Chinese internet industry in one way or another. Google most recently launched its Adwords business in China. The local Chinese search engine Baidu.com just floated on the stock market with massive success. Statistics show that the number of internet users in 2005 stands at 103 million users, a mere 7.9% of the Chinese population. With greater access to the internet and falling prices for computing hardware, this figure will only increase. Furthermore, an increasing number of European and American companies are seeking to break into the market through Chinese websites, most notably Liverpool and Manchester United Football Clubs who both clearly see the financial potential of selling their goods to a hungry Chinese audience.
The sign clearly says, “China – Land of Business Opportunity”. For businesses wanting to profit from this growing market place the Chinese website is critical. Chinese internet users are turning more and more to the internet as a source of information, goods and services. Companies that deal with anything from clothing to tourism to consulting are all in demand. Those that get a place in the market now will see secure future revenue.
In the grand scheme of things, the returns a Chinese website brings outweighs the small initial costs involved in producing it. A Chinese website will act as your marketing tool, attract new customers, give you a competitive edge and ultimately increase your revenue.
Prior to having your Chinese website translated or designed you need to know who you are targeting. When this article refers to “China” it means mainland China. In China the “simplified” script is used. However, in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia the “traditional” script is used. Be sure to use the correct script when having your website translated.
There are two ways of going about presenting your Chinese website. Firstly, to have your whole site translated into Chinese. This however can only really work for small, compact sites. Larger sites will need a larger financial outlay. Secondly, a company may decide to produce a “microsite”. This is where the most important information about a company is translated and condensed into a few pages so a Chinese visitor can access the basics about who you are, what you do and how to contact you.
To get your Chinese website up and running you will need a good translation or localization agency. They will be able to analyse your current site, understand the purpose of your site, help define your target audience and then take care of the translation of the site’s content into Chinese. Some agencies can also take care of the website design work too.
Other services you may need to consider ensuring maximum impact of your site are a Cross Cultural Assessment and Search Engine Marketing. A cross cultural assessment is carried out by an expert in cultural differences. They will look at the structure of your site, the use of colours, pictures, logos and presentation to make sure it is not offensive to a Chinese audience. They will also advise on what could help boost your site’s appeal. For example, the use of the colour red is considered auspicious in China.
Once you have your Chinese website you will need to be found. A few companies now provide multilingual search engine marketing. This is where your website will be submitted to major Chinese search engines and directories; structured using certain key search terms and phrases and promoted on the internet through links from other sites.
Expansion beyond national borders is imperative for today’s businesses seeking long term growth. China clearly is a fantastic opportunity for businesses looking for a potential source of revenue from overseas. A young, internet savvy population demonstrate that a Chinese website is one of the most reasonable yet highly successful means of tapping the market.