Email Marketing in China: Is It Still Effective in 2023?

In recent years, the Chinese digital marketing landscape has evolved rapidly, with platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin dominating the scene.

As a result, many marketers have shifted their focus from traditional methods such as email marketing to these more popular channels.

However, the question remains: Is email marketing still an effective tool for businesses in China?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the current state of email marketing in China, its challenges, and its potential benefits for businesses targeting Chinese consumers.

Email Marketing in China: The Current State

Email marketing has never been as prevalent in China as it is in Western markets, primarily due to the popularity of instant messaging platforms like WeChat and QQ. However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely ineffective.

According to a 2021 study by McKinsey & Company, 31% of Chinese consumers still prefer to receive promotional materials via email.

That being said, businesses that want to incorporate email marketing into their strategies need to be aware of the unique challenges and opportunities it presents in the Chinese market.

Challenges of Email Marketing in China

  1. Deliverability Issues: The Great Firewall of China and strict email regulations can make it difficult for foreign businesses to send emails to Chinese recipients. To improve deliverability, it’s crucial to work with a reputable email service provider that has experience navigating these challenges.
  2. Low Open Rates: Chinese users typically have lower open rates compared to Western consumers. This can be attributed to the high volume of spam emails and the preference for mobile messaging apps. To boost open rates, marketers need to create engaging subject lines and ensure that their emails are mobile-friendly.
  3. Language and Cultural Differences: To succeed in the Chinese market, it’s essential to localize your email content. This includes not only translating the text into Chinese but also adapting the design, tone, and cultural references to resonate with your target audience.

Benefits of Email Marketing in China

Despite the challenges, email marketing can still be a valuable tool for businesses looking to reach Chinese consumers.

Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Cost-effective: Compared to other digital marketing methods, email marketing is relatively inexpensive. With a well-planned strategy, businesses can reach a large audience at a fraction of the cost of other channels like social media or search engine advertising.
  2. Targeted Messaging: Email marketing allows businesses to segment their audience and deliver personalized content based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. This can result in higher engagement and conversion rates.
  3. Building Customer Loyalty: Regular email communication can help businesses build long-term relationships with their Chinese customers. By providing valuable content and exclusive offers, you can nurture customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases.

Best Practices for Email Marketing in China

To make the most of email marketing in China, consider the following best practices:

  1. Optimize for Mobile: With the majority of Chinese consumers accessing the internet via mobile devices, it’s essential to create responsive email designs that look great on both desktop and mobile screens.
  2. Localize Your Content: Ensure that your emails are fully localized for the Chinese market. This includes translating the text, adapting the design, and considering cultural nuances in your messaging.
  3. Test and Analyze: Regularly test different subject lines, email formats, and content types to determine what works best for your audience. Use the data from these tests to optimize your future email campaigns.
  4. Focus on Value: To stand out from the sea of promotional emails, focus on providing value to your subscribers. Offer useful information, exclusive deals, or personalized recommendations that cater to their needs and interests.


While email marketing in China faces some unique challenges and may not be the most popular marketing channel, it still offers potential huge benefits for businesses willing to adapt their approach and invest in the necessary tools and expertise.

By following best practices and focusing on creating value for your subscribers, you can develop an effective email marketing strategy that helps you connect with and engage Chinese consumers.

Unlock the Potential of Email Marketing in China

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