More than WeChat – Australian marketers need more education about China opportunities

WeChat continues to occupy Australian marketers’ attention and budgets when marketing to China, highlighting the need for greater education about the opportunities for targeting Chinese consumers.


This was a finding from United Media Solution’s Digital Marketing Accelerator program conducted in partnership with the South Australian chapter of the Australian China Business Council (ACBC).


The program saw the agency host a series of masterclass sessions designed to help Australian businesses and marketers to excel in China. The masterclasses explored China’s unique digital landscape including the different platforms, KOLs as well as case studies detailing how brands can create effective campaigns. Other masterclasses also covered off WeChat Mini Programs and Video content, including short-form and live streaming.



Jo Ruo, Senior Sales and Marketing Manager at UMS, who led the Accelerator program says attendees were most interested in WeChat marketing opportunities, WeChat mini programs and the mechanics of establishing and maintaining WeChat official accounts.


“While overall knowledge of the China market is at different levels among businesses and marketers. Some are still at an entry-level and require a lot of education on the China digital landscape. However, others including government bodies and industry representatives have more in-depth knowledge of the China market and WeChat marketing,” says Ruo.


While many Australian marketers and businesses are already exporting products to China and possess a strong appetite for China digital marketing, smaller marketing budgets and a reluctance to invest heavily in marketing is holding companies back.


“What we saw and heard from the businesses in South Australia is that they are keen to learn about digital marketing in China and open to new ideas, but the adoption and set up is taking a long time. This is being driven by a number of factors, particularly budgets, as many of these businesses are SMEs and have limited budgets and they are looking for the most effective way to do digital marketing in China,” says Ruo.



Lisa O’Donoghue, Chief Executive, Australian China Business Council South Australia, agreed with Ruo regarding the drivers for Australian businesses.


“Most are already exporting to China and while they have experience offline, they need to build their online skills,” says O’Donoghue.


“There are only a handful of experienced digital marketers here in South Australia, but they are very keen to learn more about digital marketing in China. While they might work with smaller budgets, once they get moving they will invest in their capabilities.”


Overall Ruo and O’Donoghue agree that to be successful, Australian marketers need to understand more about the China market.


“China is a long-term investment and it is not cheap,” says Ruo, “Marketers need to start now and understand the ecosystem to be successful as doing business in China is a different game.”


O’Donoghue adds, “Australian marketers need to better understand the platforms, Chinese consumer behaviours, the different opportunities from KOLs etc and how to localise content.”