Mobile commerce, or mCommerce, is a rapidly growing phenomenon in China, making up over half of Chinese eCommerce. This remarkable growth stems from China’s recent technological history, and the key to unlocking its future potential lies in understanding how it has impacted Chinese society.


China missed the early years of eCommerce, but it made its appearance with the invention of the smartphone. Now as the world’s leading smartphone market, China primarily gets online via mobile with 95.1% of users accessing the internet through their phone (source: We Are Social).

The rise in mCommerce’s popularity has changed the way Chinese society operates. The traditional 9-to-5 shopping hours have been abandoned since users shop online during their commute and after work, expecting immediate customer service at any time of day.

As people spend more and more time online, physical stores are being replaced by virtual malls where companies set up shop online to do business directly with customers. As China’s mCommerce develops, Chinese users are increasingly buying products from overseas.

With more people than ever before going online and looking abroad for quality products, there’s never been a better time for overseas companies to get involved in Chinese mCommerce. Here are five things you need to know.


1. Ditch the iPhone

74.44% of Chinese mobiles run on an Android operating system (source: Statista), so to succeed, you’ll need to make sure your content is Android friendly. Apps are also overwhelmingly more popular than mobile-optimized websites, due to their streamlined design, ease of use and user-friendly look.

2. Think big, talk small

For your marketing to succeed, it needs to be individually adapted to users’ tastes and needs. Analytics tools on WeChat and Weibo, among others, provide insights that allow you to work out exactly what your users want and how to give it to them.

3. Explore the real world

One of the best ways to expand your customer base is by marrying online and offline worlds, made easier by smartphones. QR codes are much more developed in China than in the West, and can be used as effective marketing tools.

4. Pay as you go

The ability to pay using your phone is what turned mCommerce into the powerful force it is today. WeChat users can create an online wallet linked to a bank or credit card for online payments, while QR codes can be used for offline purchases. Some 364 million people shop via mobile, and it’s predicted that three quarters of all online retail transactions will take place via mobile in 2018, so it really does pay to make mobile payments a priority (source: Azoya Group).

5. Engage your audience

The average WeChat user spends over 90 minutes on the app daily, but this is split into many micro-moments throughout the day (source: Webcertain). Therefore, to get someone’s attention, you’ll need to leverage different platforms to craft engaging, memorable and easily digestible content.


With the increasing popularity and use of mobile devices for online shopping in China, it’s essential to prioritize Chinese mCommerce as part of your global growth strategy. As China’s economy has seen a shift from a manufacturer-based to consumer-based mentality, it’s important to consider device usage, personalization, QR codes, mobile payment methods and engaging content to effectively reach and resonate with Chinese customers.