Major Chinese firms like Huawei, ZTE and Haier are utilising Facebook to engage overseas shoppers, even though the social network is not accessible in their home market. Huawei, the telecoms group, has accrued 140,000 fans for its mobile devices around the world on Facebook, and believes this platform offers advantages in terms of building the equity of its consumer-facing arm.
“There is a big difference in selling products to customers and selling products to enterprises,” Wan Biao, CEO of Huawei’s devices unit, told the China Daily. “In order to make connections with ordinary people, it is important to know what they like and what they usually do.”
ZTE, which is active in the same category, has created brand pages in various countries. It now, for example, boasts over 17,000 “likes” on its main corporate profile and 15,000 for its UK-focused page. “We have seen a rapid increase in ZTE fans on Facebook,” said He Shiyou, an executive vice president at the company. “There is great potential for ZTE to further strengthen its efforts in Facebook marketing.”
Lenovo, the IT giant, already has nearly 420,000 “likes” on Facebook, making it one of the most popular Chinese operators leveraging this medium.
Haier, the appliances manufacturer, established a presence on the social network in 2009, and credits the site with driving brand awareness across Europe. “It was only through Facebook that European consumers came to know about Haier,” Sun Shubao, general manager of Haier Europe, said.
Facebook itself is tapping such interest by working with iPinYou, the demand-side online advertising company, to offer real-time bidding on inventory for Chinese firms keen on running ads abroad. “There is demand from Chinese advertisers to reach out to US consumers and this is the way how Facebook can cash in on the Chinese market,” said Huang Xiaonan, the chief executive officer of iPinYou.