On June 29, TechNode CEO Lu Gang interviewed Shen Chengang, CEO and co-founder of Meetsocial Group, a cross-border marketing firm, about his insights on marketing Chinese firms to overseas audiences. This interview is part of an ongoing series by TechNode China focusing on Chinese companies doing business outside their home country. 

Founded in 2013, Meetsocial Group has helped many notable Chinese companies with overseas digital marketing solutions. Its most notable clients include Chinese tech firms like Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance, NetEase, Trip.com Group, Anker, Shein, and Xiaomi. The annual marketing budget under the firm’s management was estimated to exceed $4.5 billion in 2021, according to its official website. Since its inception, the company has provided digital marketing solutions, including software as a service (SaaS), for more than 8,000 companies.

Here are some highlights from the interview, which have been condensed and edited for clarity: 

If a Chinese company wants to go abroad, which market should they enter first, Northern America, Southeast Asia, or others?

Companies need to do in-depth research on their target users to increase the probability of successful marketing overseas.

Makeup products, for instance, will find it challenging to compete in European and American markets because customers have different skin tones than in Asian markets. Thus, domestic makeup brands should prioritize entering Southeast Asian markets due to the similarities with their customer base.

For other products like apps and games, you need to find a suitable market based on your products’ features and content. Or make a new product to cater to your target market. 

What has changed in marketing Chinese firms to global users over the years?

Compared to 10 years ago, our entire infrastructure for helping companies to go overseas has drastically improved, with better delivery, payment, and customer service systems, and those areas are still improving. This progress has made overseas markets more open to Chinese firms and pushed the construction of our infrastructure to the next step.

One key improvement is the development of China’s manufacturing industry, which has found ways to produce quality products at a competitive price. Chinese-made products have become known for their cost-effectiveness, which has helped to better incorporate Chinese companies into the global market. 

Can you share examples of how your firm has helped Chinese companies market overseas?

Two typical cases are our clients, Shein and Anker. Shein is a cross-border platform for fast fashion, while Anker focuses on accessory products for computers and consumer electronics.

Consumer electronics products generally have more value than fashion products. Thanks to the advantage that Chinese brands have when it comes to manufacturing and high standardization in the industry, they are more cost-effective, and such products have an easier time entering overseas markets.

There are fewer opportunities for companies that focus on low-margin products, like Shein. On the contrary, brands that focus more on a specific area, like Anker, are still promising in overseas markets. 

What does Meetsocial Group do differently to help clients find success in a new market?

First, we pay attention to our clients’ needs and invest in related fields. We mainly focus on the e-commerce, gaming, and app sectors. In these industries, we pay attention to marketing needs, the needs of our target consumer base, and other factors.

We have also set up many local offices overseas to help companies to optimize. For example, our teams work closely with local media, learning and meeting the needs of different advertisers overseas.

We have local offices in Singapore, Japan, India, and Dubai, where our local colleagues can offer advice on local marketing strategies to better connect with the market in that region.

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a]technode.com or Twitter @zhounanyu.