SimulTrans Localization Blog: SimulTips

5 Tips for Chinese Localization

[fa icon="calendar"] April 25, 2018 / by Stefan Thiele

5 tips for Chinese localization.jpg 

In the country with the most residents on earth, people are spending more and more money. Today 56 percent of all Chinese are using the Internet. According to a study by McKinsey, the middle class alone will grow to about 400 million people by 2020. This new driving force will have an enormous impact on the global economy.

Have you already considered the potential of the Chinese market?

Did you discover why this country plays such a key role in the economics of the next decade? Then I recommend that, in addition to the possible economic motives in the localization of your marketing mix, you take other important aspects into account. Keeping these in mind can be crucial for your company’s commercial success in China.

Here are five good reasons why it is so important to localize your materials for the Chinese market:

1- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

While Google’s search engine receives about 79 percent of search queries worldwide, Baidu is China’s market-leading search engine with a share of about 69 percent. This makes an adjustment and optimization for Baidu virtually indispensable. SimulTrans can also be found on Baidu:

 Baidu.png2- Color Concepts

From a global perspective, color impressions often vary, as does the cultural meaning of using colors in China. In western countries, red frequently stands for love. But red is also often used there as a warning and signal color and may represent aggression. In China, red stands for joy, happiness and fame and is perceived positively across the board. White, on the other hand, is seen very differently by the Chinese. Here the color represents mourning and death, while it characterizes innocence in western countries, where it isn’t associated with grief. You can already tell that a design which is customized and fully developed for China is important. This includes such obvious things as the design of the website, product flyers and company logo but also frequently neglected aspects, such as the color of the product cartons, business cards or the product design, like the software interface.

3- Depicting Information

Western customers in particular see Chinese advertising media (websites, flyers, advertising boards, brochures, etc.) as unorganized, over-stimulating and sometimes even chaotic. This can be attributed to a different kind of perception and understanding of how information is acquired.

These differences in processing information have consequences in design. As a result of the cause-and-effect thinking of the western world, people there focus on a main object and tend to neglect the peripheries. The Chinese eye perceives very differently: the entire representation area is checked and even peripheries play a large role. Chinese consumers highly value an unfiltered depiction of information. They prefer to analyze, summarize and evaluate it on their own. The majority of western consumers, in turn, expects a compact and ideally already prioritized depiction of the information.

4- Company Name

It can be tough to localize the company name for the Chinese market. In many cases, western company names are derived from the name of the founder, a play on words or something freely invented. Typically, the West also places high value on expressiveness and a potential for market development. If you now consider a market launch with your company name in China, a precise analysis of this name is recommended to prevent accidentally unpleasant messages.

Here are two examples of famous brands:
The phonetic translation of “Coca-Cola” was once given as “Kou-ke-kou-la”, which means “bite the wax tadpole.” By now the message “delicious and happy” is used with the translation “Ke-kou-ke-le.”
“Baoma” essentially means “precious horse” and is the phonetic translation of BMW.

5- Local Significance

A high-quality translation of your materials alone certainly won’t be enough for the Chinese market. It is even more essential to precisely and specifically coordinate your marketing mix and the associated marketing campaigns towards your customers as well.

By now the highly populated cities already represent their own markets and should be considered in addition to other aspects.

  • It is estimated that 75 percent of the more prosperous Chinese population will reside in a city in 2020.
  • More than 100 metropolitan regions already have more than five million residents by now.
  • China’s largest city in terms of area is Chongqing, which is about as big as Austria. 

These numbers alone make it clear how significant Chinese cities are. You should definitely adapt contact addresses, business hours and certifications to the target market. German-language phone support at unconventional hours won’t help your Chinese customer.

Checking the suitability of reference customers for China is another important factor. Can you show Chinese customers in your portfolio? You should definitely use these references. Many other viewpoints and perspectives should be considered as well.

These could be summarized with words such as:

  • Currency
  • Symbolism
  • Graphic characters
  • Name formatting
  • Address formatting
What can be noted is that the initiation of a business in China has successful prospects when you approach your target market with customized solutions.

I hope that I was able to give you a few good reasons why choosing a professional translation services company for your next Chinese project is worthwhile.

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Topics: Translation Services

Stefan Thiele

Written by Stefan Thiele

Stefan serves as Business Development Manager, he develops SimulTrans’ co-operations in German speaking countries. He lives with his family near our office in Bonn. He considers Indonesia as his secret homeland. Professionally, Stefan has worked in the sales and marketing industry in Germany and Europe for over 10 years. He uses his professional experience in trade, healthcare and automotive industries to find localization solutions for our business partners.