How to Manage Marketing in China during this Challenging Time

As China implements further virus spread prevention measures, here follows our current marketing advice by industry:


• The cancellation of thousands of flights has undoubtedly impacted outbound tourism

• During the SARS outbreak of 2003, business and leisure travel was impacted substantially, there were 20.2 million outbound tourists that year. In 2018, there were 155 million outbound tourists spending $277b overseas (20% of global total)

• The next few months will see lower than usual outbound trips from China, but expect these numbers to recover and pick up pace in due course, at which time, your marketing should be front-of-mind, driven by clear and consistent messaging  

• Chinese schools summer break will be mid-June to mid-August, and we recommend campaigns start at least 2 months beforehand

• For content, articles about cultural etiquette, must see sights and how to stay safe will be well received



• As Chinese are currently spending more time indoors and online, this is a good time to double-down on your current activity

• Users are spending more time on WeChat, Weibo and Taobao, and if your brand is clearly visible, ROI should be improving accordingly

• If you are considering setting up a Chinese legal entity, please get in touch for further info

Fashion & Beauty

• Established fashion platforms like Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) are seeing more content to do with cleaning, staying safe outdoors and mask selection

• Beauty KOLs are providing advice on how to apply make-up for when wearing a mask for example

• For content, be sensitive to this shift in context, but don’t stop posting

• Chinese want things to return to normal as soon as possible, and look to western brands to present ideals of looking your best

• Show support by just being there, with a measured tone and implied understanding, your brand will continue to be warmly welcomed by both existing and new customers


• Chinese students apply to overseas schools and universities at all times throughout the year

• Universities, Business Schools and Independent Schools are mostly “always on” with increased activity during busy application periods

• Though it is currently harder for Chinese to attend open days and tours, we predict the number of Chinese students to increase in academic year 2020/21 as normal

• For content, general living and cultural tips, careers advice, and what to expect articles


• As Chinese spend more time indoors and online, this is a good time to double-down on your current activity

• Gaming companies can expect to see higher sales than normal, and should now consider expanding out campaigns to win new customers

• Production houses can expect to see higher audience numbers, and should use this time to hone search and social strategies for maximum return

Finance, B2B and others

• Are less effected by the current situation, but should remain open to discourse and changing circumstances

• Chinese businesses are being effected and in some cases, are losing money

• Now is the time to recognise this shift and adjust your marketing messaging accordingly

• Most lead times are long-term, so don’t stop cultivating your leads with relevant and actionable marketing

• For content, articles on opportunity, future planning, and improved workflow efficiency

This list is no way exhaustive, and if you require some bespoke info on your Chinese marketing strategy, please contact us on the usual channels. Your Chinese customers are experiencing a difficult time at the moment, and the very best thing you can do for them, is be there. Be there on the platforms where they live their day-to-day lives, be there when they are searching for the products and services that match your own, and be there in a way that shows long-term support and commitment, now, tomorrow and for every day after that.


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