How the web is used in China

Duncan Stephen
Thursday 19 March 2015

On China’s bleeding edge: Web design trends 2015

We, along with our colleagues in Admissions and IT Services, have been doing a lot of thinking recently about how we can best reach users in China. Web culture in China is very different to here, and it is even more difficult for us to keep on top of the trends. So this article about where the web stands in China today was very timely.

What surprised me the most is just how dominant mobile appears to be, and in a different way to in the west. For instance, the mobile app WeChat is ubiquitous, and it contains a native browser that has a very large bearing on how websites are designed and optimised in China.

I do a bit of UI consulting for foreign firms that are thinking of entering the Chinese market, and I find myself saying one thing quite a bit: Localizing for China means more than translating your desktop website into Mandarin and calling it a day. It might sound harsh but here’s my advice: Do China right or don’t bother. If you half-arse it, it will be obvious, and you will lose money and credibility. Know who you’re talking to and how they use the web, and open communication via the channels they expect (WeChat, light apps, QR codes), and you’ll be that much closer to a meaningful connection with your users.

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