Watch Out – Apple’s China Turnaround

We hear about Chinese selling their bodies, body parts and siblings in order to buy the latest iPhone; over recent years Apple has become a must-have product and China will soon overtake the US as Apple’s number one market. How did it go from number 6 to number 1 – and how did it achieve this turnaround in 12 months?

We need to look to Chinese culture to find out – and in so doing, we can learn a valuable lesson about pitching our own products and services to a Chinese audience – respect the culture.

In advertising and merchandising, Apple has grasped two key points:
1)Aspiration for luxury goods/status – FACE,
2)Language – not just using Chinese words to sell the dream, but putting it into the right cultural context – using the right actors and speaking to the locals in their language, using their symbols/icons to create a real connection with Chinese consumers.

Face and self-esteem or reputation lead many Chinese people, especially the young and upwardly mobile, to seek out high-end and prestigious products. Chinese consumers see the Apple brand as one to be desired – a status symbol. Also in a culture where relationships are key to advancement, the value of Apple products as gifts to curry favour cannot be underestimated. Apple has been successfully positi Apple Store West Lake oning its products as status symbols. It has worked at the store level to let the locals know it understands Chinese culture and sells the products in a Chinese context, and by creating a place you want to be seen with lots of action happening in store. Apple is opening more locations and had five new outlets in time for Chinese New Year in February 2015. In one of its advertisements, Apple uses calligraphy and a local artist penning a poem about his hometown to show viewers that it respects local culture while ‘subtly’ getting the Apple message out.

Whichever way you look – traditional culture, modern merchandising, status gifts or status symbol, Apple has given brands a lesson in how to turn around their fortunes. In January 2015, Apple reported USD $16.1 billion in revenue from Greater China (mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan) – an increase in 70% on the previous year.

With the Apple watch on the cover of November’s China Vogue and about to launch in China, watch out!

Want to find out more on how to position your brand in a way that appeals to your target Chinese customers? Are you looking for translation of your message/materials from English to Chinese accurately and in a culturally appropriate way? Find out more at our website here, or give us a call at 1300 792 446 (or +61 3 9188 3621) and talk to one of our Chinese translation specialists today!