#Branding in China

Public Relation in China, the Same but Different

Last modified: February 9, 2021

In China, communication is the key. Chinese people pay attention to the communication of a brand. Some brands, as french fashion brands, are a bit safe by that because of their provenance. French fashion brands are very reputed all over the world that’s why Chinese people pay less attention. But for the others? The other industries have to show they are clean and be transparent with their consumers. Foreign firms obviously lack visibility in China.

Public Relation in China

More than anywhere in the world, public relations are an important factor of success in China. Companies and brands need to deal with public relations.

That’s why it’s mandatory to learn some key points about the Chinese public relations landscape and how to take advantage of it.

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First of all, you need to know that in China there are a lot of newspapers. It’s not like in a lot of countries where you only find national newspapers. In China, there are around 2000 newspapers and 10 000 magazines and the number of publications grows every year. Even if newspapers are now most read on screens, newspapers, and magazines are always very appreciated in China.

That’s why it’s so complex for foreign companies to understand how it works. Work with natives or with a agency can help you to to thwart the traps of the PR in China.

Another thing you need to know, even if I am pretty sure that you already know that: the Chinese press is very controlled. Censorship policy is not really a secret, the rules are very strict and media are regulated under them. To be effective, you need to know some basic rules.


Finally good news for you. Yes, Chinese people use the same communication platforms as you. They even have more platforms than their western counterparts. Traditional media, online media, events, conferences, advertising… you have a lot of choices to develop a relationship with your target.

But one more time, don’t forget that chinese public relations don’t work exactly like your domestic public relations. Be aware of the rules.



Instead of adapting their approach to this new and different market, foreign companies try to change Chinese culture. You need to adapt your business model. That’s why a lot of companies failed in this market.

A tip for you, as for all the market but more in China, you have to segment the market. It’s vital because China is a big country with many regions and different cultures. Each part of China needs to have its own approach.


Chinese people when they want to buy something will first do a lot of research about the brand. They pay a lot of attention to the details. Don’t interfer with what doesn’t concern you. Because it can loose you. Chinese politics is a complex and tricky subject, never talk about that in your communication.

  • Also, Hong Kong is a part of China and not an independent country and Taïwan is a country. If you do this mistake, first, consumers will criticise you, but you risk to be inspect by China’s censorship board, and it’s never a good thing.


Social media platforms are very popular in China. They are more important than traditional media. Even if censorship is also present on social media, users are freer to express themselves. That’s why these apps are so popular. The two most important platforms are Wechat and Weibo.

  1. Wechat is a mix between Whatsapp and Facebook but with a lot of other amazing functions for users but also for brands. It’s an effective app to communicate and develop a relationship with your consumers. Wechat needs to be a part of your marketing strategy.
  2. Weibo is a kind of Twitter, but really better than Twitter. Users are allowed to post a lot of things like content, pictures, vidéos… and customize their posts. Weibo also allows you (brands and users) to post big content, that’s why it’s better than Twitter.

Wechat and Weibo are not the only platforms, you have a lot of others.

Zhihu , Little Red Book , Meipai …

Don’t forget that your western social media as Facebook and Twitter are not autorized in China. That’s why communicate with chinese consumers on this platforms are unnecessary.


  1. Communication is really important in China.Everything in China is relationship-based. The concept of Guanxi is always used in China. Do you know Guanxi?
  2. The most important things in China when you do business. You need to understand this term. Guanxi has not really a definition in english. Guanxi is more a concept.
  3. It’s means that you need to understand your customers to do business with them. Guanxi is a bit like networking. In fact Guanxi is a question of understanding each other to build a good commercial relationship and of course to be more efficient.
  4. And Guanxi is refered to trust.


Companies and brands need to learn the best practices in order to avoid important mistakes. Because mistakes can be fatal in China. You need to know a lot about Chinese public relations before start developing your business in China. An agency that specializes in communication can help you to thwart the traps.

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We are a specialist PR agency based in Shanghai. We understand chinese Consummers and the real methods for success in this lucrative country.

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