China Business: China Brand Localization


Localizing Your Brand in China the Smart Way.

When entering the Chinese market, successful branding strategies should always include considerations of brand localization. Research shows that global brands embracing local elements are enjoyed widely among consumers. Whether it is about finding a Chinese brand name, conducting market research on consumers’ needs and desires or the collaboration with local partners and teams: finding the right strategies to set foot in the Chinese market and create brand awareness amongst consumers are key elements in order to successfully set up business in China.

According to Common Sense Advisory, globally, 76% of online consumers exhibit a stronger affinity for products presented in their native language. Equally compelling, a substantial 48% prioritize information in their own language over the product’s price. This clearly demonstrates the potential impact and opportunities of smart brand localization.

Branding in China: What is brand localization?

Brand localization is one of the fundamental strategies employed by companies seeking entry into new global markets. It necessitates a profound comprehension of the target market’s cultural nuances, driving the adaptation of a company’s products, messaging, and content.

The cultural differences of different global markets are important to understand how to better cater to the needs and desires of customers. Following the rapid transformation of the Chinese market, rising nationalism among Chinese consumers and local brands gaining more and more popularity, adjusting brands to fit the local consumers’ expectations and behaviors have become imperative for successful businesses in China.

What is smart brand localization in China?

Smart brand localization in China:
1. Tailor-Made Solutions
2. Professional Data Interpretation
3. Market Monitoring
4. Local Partnerships
5. Team Communication
  1. Brand localization in China isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution and extends well beyond translating your products’ labels and advertising. The foremost task is to establish your brand’s selling points in the Chinese market, enabling the creation of tailor-made solutions for your project. This demands deep knowledge not only of business and legal matters in China, but also of the social context.
  2. Gathering data from the Chinese consumer market lays the foundation for successful localization; however, the usefulness of this data relies on its accurate interpretation. Understanding Chinese culture, society, and target groups is pivotal for making informed decisions regarding your brand localization.
  3. The Chinese market is highly dynamic and fast-moving. International brands and businesses need to be flexible and make fast-paced decisions. It is therefore imperative to keep an eye on the most recent developments. This requires people on site to monitor the transformations of the Chinese market. Otherwise, international businesses run the risk of deploying brand localization strategies that are outdated once implemented.
  4. Effective localization in China often requires collaboration with Chinese partners, as they offer first-hand local experience. Identifying appropriate partners and cultivating strong relationships with them are pivotal for your brand’s success. This can help to create a deep and sustainable cross-cultural exchange.
  5. When localizing your brand in China, ensuring effective communication between your local and global teams is crucial. Misunderstandings stemming from cultural differences and misaligned communication expectations can jeopardize the whole project.

What are strategies for smart brand localization in China?

  • Find a Chinese brand name. Finding a Chinese brand name requires intensive market research, cultural sensitivity, and a thorough understanding of the Chinese language. Chinese characters and pronunciation can often be interpreted in a number of ways. As a result, choosing the wrong Chinese brand name can cause serious brand damage. Therefore, it is crucial to seek professional support when it comes to choosing the perfect brand name.
  • Leverage Chinese social commerce platforms. With about 850 million users in China, social commerce accounts for a significant share of e-commerce in China. Therefore, foreign brands should make social commerce focus of their brand localization strategies.
  • Work with Chinese Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs): Chinese consumers trust the judgements o KOLs. Collaborating with KOLs can increase brand awareness in the Chinese market and help promote the brand’s products to a specific target audience.
  • Incorporate Chinese cultural elements into marketing: Popular multinational brands refer to Chinese traditions and customs to appeal to their customers and create a more intimate relationship with them. A popular example is KFC selling mooncakes with chicken filling for the mid-autumn festival in 2019.
  • Create products tailored for Chinese consumers. Creating products specifically for the Chinese market is another strategy for smart brand localization. Hence, a thorough understanding of the desires and needs of Chinese consumers is essential for foreign businesses in China.
  • Strike a balance between globalization and localization. While the localization of foreign brands in China is key to accessing the Chinese market, the image of a global brand still plays a role in the overall perception of products. Finding the right balance between localization and globalization of brands is thus critical to the success of foreign companies in China.

MFC helps you to develop and implement the right strategy for your brand in China. Find out more on our services such as branding and naming and get in touch with us.

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