China tech tools: Which business tools do and do not work behind the Great Firewall? What are the alternatives?
With a population of roughly 1.4 billion and an e-commerce market valued at over $1 trillion USD, China represents a massive opportunity to companies around the world.
However, as any company who has tried to enter the Chinese market will know, the government of the PRC exercises significant control over the domestic Internet, which means it can be especially difficult for businesses to enter and grow their presence in China.
With so many of the world’s most popular business and consumer-focused resources disabled by the Chinese government, planning and executing a business strategy can be an uphill battle, especially without access to the world’s most well-known and frequently-used enterprise tools.
The reality is that most internet-based business software is not functional in China. That includes Microsoft OneDrive, Slack, Hootsuite, Skype, GitHub, Dropbox, Hubspot CMS and more.
Google in China — or lack thereof
Perhaps the most quintessential expression of this is the unavailability of Google and all of its programs and subsidiaries in China, including YouTube, Ads, Tag Manager and Google Analytics (GA). Google’s absence from China also goes beyond simply consumer-facing programs like search, YouTube and Maps. For web developers, marketers, and businesses across the world, GA has become a mainstay of their productivity suites.
With GA banned, many businesses in need of analytics from their websites in China have found ways around the issue by relying on alternatives and virtual private networks (VPNs). However, the issue with these patchwork solutions is that China’s Ministry of Information is consistently working to make those solutions unavailable. Each time a developer finds a way to get outside of the firewall, the government finds a way to close that loophole.
Ultimately, workarounds to GA and VPNs are inherently faulty and flawed. These temporary solutions are completely unreliable and, perhaps more importantly, are subject to data leakage, which results in flawed insights that businesses simply cannot trust.
Alternative solutions to GA?
As more and more global businesses have expressed their frustration with the lack of insights inside the market, Chinese businesses have recognized a need for web analytics tools inside the Great Firewall. For instance, Baidu (China’s search leader and the country’s answer to Google) has developed a program called Tongji, to fill this void.
However,Tongji lacks the security of information that enterprise users expect and need. Furthermore, there have been reports that Tongji has, in the past, been weaponized by developers to deliver viruses and spyware.
Designing websites for Chinese audiences
In order to reach Chinese audiences effectively, businesses in China have to specifically design their online interfaces in a way that correctly aligns with the unique technological requirements inside the Firewall. It is important to understand that consumer-facing websites that work perfectly well in North America, Europe or Australia simply will not be the optimal solution in China.
As a result of this, departments and individuals who run e-commerce sites cannot rely on global websites that stay the same regardless of the country in which it operates. Simply put, China needs to be treated as the exception not the norm. Businesses who want to have an effective presence in China must specifically modify aspects of their design, layout and code in a way that is optimized for that market.
Tying it all together
What does all this mean? With all of these issues, how can companies be sure that they are operating in China effectively, in order to take advantage of the massive e-commerce market?
A unique solution for the market
Fortunately for companies, there is one solution that has proven to work effectively behind the Firewall, even in the wake of new tactics and regulations from China’s Ministry of Information.
The application is called Chinalytics, which provides its users with the customization and safety of information required to continue normal analytics processes, without having to worry about the mediation of the Firewall.
China Digital Labs
For companies in need of custom big tech solutions inside the Firewall, WPIC’s China Digital Labs division has more than 15 years of on the ground experience building sector-agnostic, multi-layer technology stacks that integrate with global enterprise solutions.
Whether a company needs cloud activation and management, enterprise system integration, payment gateways, hosting tools, PIM configuration, or something else all-together, China Digital Labs has the award-winning programmers and the expertise to develop custom IT solutions with clean, robust code that enterprise clients need.
Interested in learning more? If your business is serious about consumer insights, market data and e-commerce solutions in China, contact the experts: firstname.lastname@example.org.