There are many common mistakes when comes to Online Marketing for Chinese markets and communities; here are 5 of them that we have observed:
Mistake 1: Translation Problems
Even today; you would think translations can be done very easily; but 95% of the translations we have audited contain critical mistakes.
Mistakes are often made when you use someone overseas for translations; translators based in China often lack of knowledge about western markets; and have been making simple mistakes such as Contact Us (translated as Contact USA); and even problems like translating slogans like “Hi Guys” or United Kingdom (as many have no idea what UK stands for).
Mistake 2: Internet Translations
Never use Internet tools for translations; especially if they are more business translations, you will only embarrass yourselves. This is a common problem not just for Chinese translations; but also for all languages. The reason for this is these programs are based on Word-to-Word translations; not taking into account of grammar or paragraphs, it is particularly a problem for Chinese as the grammar is completely different from English.
Mistake 3: Have a Chinese website but not registered in Asian search engines
This is a common mistake; you think your website will be picked up automatically around Asian online communities once you launch a Chinese language website, right? The problem is, many Asian web users do not use English and will never go to the English search engine such as Google; you will basically miss out the entire market if you do not register your website around Asian search engines. Censorship is also a major issue in China, and they have been systematically blocking English language search engines.
Mistake 4: Lack of Chinese Web Contents
When localizing your web contents, ensure you use the appropriate Chinese terms; and be reminded that the terms used in China can be completely different than those in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Direct translation of web contents often lack of consideration of keywords; as well as use of local language and terms. We did a project for a mortgage company in United States; and even the term “mortgage” is translated in 3 ways in Chinese, which can be confusing.
Mistake 5: Lack of Patience
I think the 5th mistake is lack of patience; Chinese Online Marketing will not happen overnight due to the fact there are millions of Chinese websites out there, and it can be difficult to achieve a significant web presence within a short timeframe.
However, the good news is, the critical mass is also there. It will be amazing once you are able to reach out the target audiences; you can see daily web traffic coming in thousands; a Blog in China can receive over 1 million hits a day as an example! If you look at the top 10 websites according to Alexa; you can see that it is dominated by the Chinese websites.