Email marketing represents probably the most widely used way in the West to reach their consumers. Through a simple email you can send promotional and exclusive content, newsletters and many others. How does email marketing work in China

Let’s see in this article how to best integrate the email marketing service Beyond the Great Wall in your digital strategy.

How does email marketing work in China?

Email marketing in China is not among the most used digital services. Because Chinese users are more accustomed to using smartphones instead of PCs. Compared to the West, e-mail has never been more widely used. According to research conducted by the BBC, the Chinese check their emails 22% less than users globally. 

This happens for several reasons, two in particular. On the one hand, the Great Firewall is complicit in making common email platforms static and hard to reach. And sometimes, they still present security and privacy problems. On the other hand, we have to take technological development into consideration. Western countries have witnessed a slow development of technology: from the first computers, which were heavy and had bulky monitors, to laptops and finally to smartphones. In contrast, China has gone from having no such technology at home to having smartphones in their pockets. Over the years, e-mail has adapted to smartphones rather than PCs.

What is being used in China instead of e-mail?

Certainly, messaging apps and platforms take the lead. During the early 2000s, the most used social messaging was QQ. Owned by the Tencent Group, QQ was the most popular instant messaging program in China. When it entered Chinese households, QQ quickly became a modern cultural phenomenon, surpassing Skype, MSN and Yahoo in importance. Unlike email, QQ was able to provide entertainment and great interaction through instant messaging.

However, today the star of email marketing in China is another app. The super app WeChat from the Tencent Group, the same as QQ, is the favorite in China. With as many as 902 million daily users, it takes precedence over any other app or platform because of its many services, ranging from messaging to e-commerce. The multifunctional mobile instant messaging app has replaced the use of email, and just as in the West, where your email address is part of your identity, the WeChat account has the same feature.

Do email marketing with WeChat

WeChat, therefore, can be adapted to the digital culture of email marketing. WeChat is the leading social platform in China, integrating social, e-commerce, services and communication. Thus, so does email marketing.

But how to do email marketing in China if the Chinese themselves do not check email so frequently? Keeping in mind the communication habits prevalent in China. For all those brands that want to do email marketing in China, it is essential to think about their email marketing plan via WeChat. Newsletters can be a solution. Newsletters can increase customer engagement and create a closer relationship between the brand and its customers. They can also advertise discounts and promotions, typical email marketing activities but also newsletters. All through a single platform.

But it doesn’t end there. Brands can also decide to make announcements via WeChat groups or through messaging. For example, a brand can notify one of its newsletter subscribers that a new newsletter has just been published. This, in turn, can further strengthen a company’s marketing position in China.

This kind of communication really appeals to Chinese consumers. Because they find it more convenient to receive notifications from brands on WeChat without the need to switch platforms.

The importance of newsletter

What is important to remember in sending newsletters is regular messages, update information, high-quality content, and variety of content. In addition, WeChat’s account service offers the ability to publish 4 posts per month. More than enough to stay in touch with the audience, regularly remind them of brand activities, and become useful to all subscribers so as to keep interest high. In addition, another very interesting feature is to be able to guide users, with dedicated links, to the brand’s e-commerce on Tmall, through a Flagship Store, or to other platforms.


Three examples of newsletters on WeChat. MSGM‘s newsletter has very graphic content with a strong visual impact. Santa Margherita in its newsletters implements the right communication by adapting its product to Chinese holidays, this is the newsletter published for Chinese New Year. In this way the brand creates more engagement with the target audience. Finally, it is possible to create newsletters with a more technical style, as is the case with Brembo.

Other solutions

In addition to WeChat, there are other means by which brands can build trust with their customers. Similarly to WeChat, these allow Chinese consumers to be engaged to achieve the same level of use as email marketing.

Chinese consumers like to see content shared by KOL/KOC over original content from the brands themselves. In fact, there are many Chinese consumers who rely on the advice of their favorite bloggers because they aspire to have the same lifestyle and taste. A brand could take advantage of a partnership with a KOL or KOC to expand its consumer base, increase trust and interest in itself. Therefore, it is important to create good seeding on platforms such as Xiaohongshu, also known as Little Red Book, and Douyin that are the realm of Chinese Influencers.

In conclusion, China’s thriving digital ecosystem of apps, platforms, and social media offers companies a range of options for building an effective and consistent marketing strategy. In China, social media is vital for companies to succeed in the market. While email marketing has its advantages in the West, any company that intends to operate successfully in China must keep in mind the communication habits of the Chinese. Remembering this principle, you will have to adapt your content to the Chinese ecosystem. The ideal in this case is to move from the mail folder to WeChat messages. Only then will you be successful and reach Chinese consumers.

To get a complete view on trends from China, download the excerpt from the Italy China Council Foundation’s 13th annual report, the most comprehensive guide to China’s digital landscape! Click on the image to download: