How China Is Different (Part 1) — Consumer Behavior

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By Rosa Wang, Staff Solutions Architect

When a global company transitions its IT infrastructure to the cloud, multi-cloud is often one of their key strategies. When you expand your business or operations into China, you must first be aware that China is very different than the rest of the world. Here is how China is unique in terms of consumer behaviors, infrastructure, networking, security and regulations.

China is a very large country containing the largest population of the world. In addition to that, China also has the largest population of internet users in the world. The immense scale of China’s population and network connectivity means that China witnesses more e-commerce activity on a daily basis than any other country in the world today.

Story of the Double 11 Shopping Festival

The Double 11 Shopping Festival, also known as Singles’ Day, in China is a prime example of how Chinese consumers are different. Alibaba’s Singles’ Day occurs each year on the 11th of November, and is the world’s biggest shopping event. In fact, China’s Single’s Day results in more online sales than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. In 2018 this 24-hour global shopping festival made a billion dollars in sales in the first 90 seconds. Alibaba sold as much in five minutes as Amazon sold over the entire Prime Day.

The total sales of the most recent Single’s Day is $30.8 billion US dollars. Out of the 1.04 billion orders, 90% of them occurred on a mobile device. During this shopping spree 1.6 billion network attacks were successfully blocked. Artificial intelligence played an important role in the festival not only by recommending large volumes of products as well as serving over a billion customer services to global users.

What Makes Consumers in China Different?

When you are expanding your business in China, you need to not only abide to local regulations but also adapt to the local market. There are a host of factors that drive Chinese consumers to behave in a manner that is different from their international counterparts. To better understand what drives them, let’s look at the following numbers that illustrate consumer behaviors in China:

  1. Low tolerance for latency. Performance is very important for Chinese consumers. Typically, Chinese consumers can be described as being less patient than their global counterparts because of the high-paced lifestyle in China.
  2. Chinese tend to spend a lot of time shopping. On average, Chinese spend 3 times more on online shopping than Americans.
  3. Chinese middle class continues to grow rapidly which creates an increasing demand for premium foreign brands.
  4. Intense brand competition drives constant innovations. Virtual reality, IoT, Magic Mirror, New Retail, Smart Logistic, and O2O(online and offline) are seeing more and more useage.
  1. Massive volumes of concurrent transactions. Chinese consumers prefer to fill up their shopping cart before the sale starts resulting in more than 400,000 orders per second in the early moments of the sale.
  2. The majority of shopping occurs on mobile devices. Mobile payment apps are extremely popular as many Chinese people do not own credit cards.

Based on the trends above, ease of use, flexibility, scalability and performance are key factors to gaining customers in China.

In the next post, I’ll explain how network infrastructure is different in China.


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