Accessing China and Indonesia: The Future of Asian eCommerce

Category: International Business, Website Translation

China and Indonesia, though widely different in population, are both major players in the rapidly growing Asian markets.

Take mobile expansion. Ovum’s telecom division predicts that between 2012 and 2017, 61 percent of the 1.6 billion new mobile connections will originate in the Asia-Pacific region alone. And with these mobile connections, a wealth of opportunities abounds for accessing these new users.

Debating between mCommerce and eCommerce as a strategy for Asian market expansion? Unsure of where to put your energies into SEO or social media marketing? Using China and Indonesia as a guide, here are three things to know when building a global eCommerce strategy in Asia.

Mobile is the future

A quick look at the numbers shows potential for incredible growth. As of November 2012, China recorded 1.092 billion mobile subscribers with 212 million using 3G/4G subscriptions. For Indonesia, laptop and tablet sales have surged, yet many more consumers use mobile phones to access internet-based features such as social media and social eCommerce. The outlook is bright as China’s mobile shopping pool grew by 136% alone in 2012; mobile commerce (mCommerce) is definitely the wave of the future. But don’t assume that customers are accessing the internet using the latest smartphones. Most Asian markets still rest on feature phones with email, messaging, and basic social networking features, though smartphone penetration is growing quickly. With rising smartphone adoption and 4G LTE networks set to roll-out in the next two years, mobile is definitely key to accessing your Asian markets.

People are shopping where you might not expect

While the traditional online store with a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) model is prevalent in Asia, Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) sites are also quite popular. These sites connect buyers and sellers like Craigslist does; major players include China’s Taobao and Indonesia’s Kaskus, TokoBagus, and Berniaga. But the most surprising place people are shopping in Indonesia is on Facebook. With a population of 47 million on this social media site, Facebook is a definite must for brands looking to target this market.

Asian markets are not using Google to search

With the Great Firewall of China, it comes as no surprise that Google’s share of page views is minor compared to search providers like Baidu, Quihoo,, and Sogou. And unlike Facebook and Twitter’s popularity in Indonesia, Chinese social media circulates around networks like QZone, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, PengYou, and RenRen. Adapt your SEO and social media strategies accordingly to reach the greatest number of potential customers possible in your plans to target Asian markets.

Curious to find out more about how best to reach the expanding markets of China and Indonesia? Read our recent newsletter article about what to expect in terms of infrastructure, eCommerce, search and social trends for these and other rapidly growing Asian markets.