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Western marketers may be underestimating Chinese online market

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New York—U.S. and European marketers may be underestimating the online marketing opportunity in China, according to a new paper released Thursday and written by Brian McRoberts of Fleishman-Hillard and George Terhanian of Harris Interactive.

The paper, “Digital Influence Index Study: Understanding the Role of the Internet in the Lives of Consumers,” indicates that China, which has 330 million Internet users, may have the largest and most advanced group of Internet users in the world. Additionally, the paper argues that China has the smallest “mobility gap,” which is the difference between the capabilities available on a smartphone and the number of capabilities actually used by the owner.

Chinese users actually use 90% of available smartphone capabilities, according to the paper. By way of contrast, users in the U.S., France and U.K. on average use less than 50% of their phone’s capabilities.

Nonetheless, Westerners seem unaware of the Chinese’s advancement on the Internet and mobile Web. A Harris poll found that 65% of Americans believed the U.S. had the most advanced Internet users.

The poll was conducted online in the spring in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K. A poll was also conducted via telephone in Canada.

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