Smartphones have become a preferred tool to make a purchasing decision. A new Experian whitepaper reveals that 36 per cent of marketers have already tested or successfully used mobile tactics in their programs to reach target audiences.

China’s Enormous Base of Smartphone Users Offers Big Opportunities for Mobile Marketers

Smartphones have become a preferred tool to make a purchasing decision. A new Experian whitepaper reveals that 36 per cent of marketers have already tested or successfully used mobile tactics in their programs to reach target audiences.

Shanghai, China, 29 July, 2013 – China, home to the world’s largest mobile service providers, is expected to have up to 500 million mobiles in use by year-end 2013.With most of China’s consumers, both in urban and rural areas, now using mobile internet, it presents marketers a treasure trove of potential customers and data to decode their buying behavior in the vast but diverse market.

A new whitepaper from Experian Marketing Services, titled “Mobile Marketing in China,” that surveyed over 300 marketers across a range of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) industry sectors, discovered that some 36 per cent of China’s marketers have tested mobile marketing and 16 per cent have already incorporated mobile as their regular marketing channel.

While many marketers are still struggling to find the best mobile marketing approach to a country with such large numbers of mobile devices, some companies have already rolled out cutting-edge mobile campaigns. E-tail giant Taobao, for example, ran “Shopfest” online to celebrate China’s “Double Eleven Day” (11 November, 2012), an online shopping festival similar to the U.S.’ Cyber Monday shopping spree. A significant portion of merchants have used short message service (SMS) to offer discounts at virtual stores. The campaign resulted in an impressive RMB 19 billion in sales.

“Mobile marketing is now bringing ample opportunities for Chinese businesses of all sizes to engage with their vast consumer base more effectively,” said Chris Yao, Managing Director of Experian Greater China. “Local brands today understand the power of tools like SMS and are already using that to great advantage. Some 84 per cent of company respondents expected that sales through mobile devices will increase significantly in the next year. The business opportunity is tremendous, and we expect to see marketers adopt groundbreaking innovations in China’s highly competitive and segmented markets.”

SMS remains the mainstay of respondents’ mobile marketing, delivering short, simple calls to action to drive foot traffic and e-commerce. Yet tactics expected to show big gains in 2013 include custom application, QR and barcodes and mobile optimized email.

Challenges remain, however, as marketers cited lack of multi-channel strategies, absence of in-house resources and poor senior corporate support as obstacles to rolling out effective mobile campaigns. However, as sales from mobile tactics grow, it is expected that those obstacles will disappear gradually.

Additional findings from the Experian research include:
• 29 per cent of companies surveyed by Experian said SMS is the most important method of communicating with customers.
• 16 per cent reported implementing a successful mobile campaign and have made it a regular marketing channel
• 20 per cent said they have implemented one mobile or SMS campaign to test its viability
• 31 per cent said they have or are now developing a mobile strategy, but have yet to implement it.

Mobile marketing in the world’s largest smartphone market clearly has a bright future. Some 92 per cent, of marketers, the vast majority, agreed or strongly agreed that mobile will soon be one of the most popular ways for consumers in China to engage with brands.

Notes to editors:

About the Research
The research is part of an in-depth whitepaper called “Mobile Marketing in China.” Experian Marketing Services surveyed 321 marketers in China from a wide range of industries, including retail, financial services, telecommunications/utilities and travel/leisure. These B2B and B2C marketers are immersed in the ongoing quest to engage more effectively with their customers. To succeed, and to keep pace with industry competition, these marketers must incorporate mobile technology and tactics into their work.

The independent research provides insights into the current usage of and attitudes towards mobile marketing, the barriers and challenges marketers face, and their plans to invest in mobile marketing in the coming years. This whitepaper provides insights and commentary on research conducted by Experian Marketing Services in China, on how marketers are currently using mobile marketing as part of their broader strategy.

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About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2013 was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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About Experian Marketing Services
Experian Marketing Services is a global provider of integrated consumer insight, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organisations from around the world intelligently interact with today’s dynamic, empowered and hyper connected customers. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, marketers are able to plan and execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.

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