Community Blog How China Is Different (Part 1) – Consumer Behavior

How China Is Different (Part 1) – Consumer Behavior

This article provides a brief insight into doing business in China and discusses how you should adapt to the unique consumer behaviors.

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By Rosa Wang, Staff Solutions Architect

When companies discuss their global cloud initiatives with me, multi-cloud is often among their key strategies. When expanding business or operations into China, they always want to understand the differences in China compared with rest of the world. This is my latest summary of how China is unique in terms of consumer behavior, infrastructure, networking, security and regulations.

China is a very large country containing the largest population in the world. China also has the largest population of internet users in the world which means China has more e-commerce activity than any other country in the world today.


Single's day in China is a prime example of how Chinese consumers are different. Alibaba's Singles' Day occurs each year on the 11th of November. It is not only Chinas largest shopping event, but it is the largest shopping event in the world. China's Single's Day results in more online sales than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. According to CNBC,in 2018, this 24-hour global shopping festival saw a billion dollars of sales in just the first 90 seconds. After five minutes, Alibaba had sold as much, in terms of revenue, as Amazon sold over the entire Prime Day.


The total value of sales of the most recent Single's Day was 30.8 billion dollars. 90% of the 1.04 billion orders occurred on a mobile device, according to our internal statics as well as on Business Insider. During this shopping spree 1.6 billion network attacks were successfully blocked. Artificial intelligence played an important role in the festival by recommending large volumes of products to customers as well as serving over a billion services and translations to global users.

The numbers serve to illustrate the following Chinese consumer behaviors:

  • Low tolerance for latency: Performance is very important. Chinese consumers are impatient.
  • Chinese tend to spend a lot of time shopping. On average, Chinese spend 3 times more time shopping than Americans.
  • Chinese middle class continues to grow rapidly which creates an increasing demand for premium foreign brands.
  • Intense brand competition drives constant innovations. Virtual reality, IoT, Magic Mirror, New Retail, Smart Logistic, and O2O(online and offline) are seeing more and more useage.


  • Massive volumes of concurrent transactions. Chinese consumers prefer to fill up their shopping cart before the sale starts. In 2018 Single's day, more than 400,000 orders were processed per second in the early moments of the sale.
  • The majority of shopping occurs on mobile devices. Mobile payment apps are extremely popular as most Chinese people do not own credit cards. Many Chinese no longer carry cash in their wallet because they can make mobile payments almost everywhere, even street vendors and farmers' market.


Ease of use, flexibility, scalability and performance are key factors to gaining customers in China. This is illustrated by the trends, behaviors and numbers shown above. In the next post I'll explain how network infrastructure is different in China.

Looking for a customized solution or would like to discuss your Go China challenges with us? We are more than happy to help. Contact us Now: https://www.alibabacloud.com/contact-sales

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