Advertisers go online to reach parents in China

04 January 2010

BEIJING: Major marketers such as Kimberly-Clark and GlaxoSmithkline are looking to the internet as they seek to connect with parents of young children in China.

One popular site with this demographic is, a social network targeted at new mothers, and which allows them to share information on topics ranging from pregnancy to raising toddlers.

This portal receives around 12 million visitors a month, with the average consumer spending 45 minutes a day making posts, viewing content, uploading photos and sending messages.

Members can also write their own blogs, and ask questions of doctors and nurses, who volunteer to staff a dedicated forum for this community.

In the nine months since it introduced a variety of advertising formats to its pages, Babytree has generated more than $3 million (€2.1m; £1.9m) in revenue.

Over 100 companies have bought up inventory thus far, with a roughly even split between local and multinational firms.

GlaxoSmithkline, Pfizer and Wyeth have all run banner and display ads to promote their formula offerings, while Walt Disney has used the same approach in support of its toys.

Kimberly-Clark, the owner of Huggies, and Procter & Gamble, which makes Pampers, have also both paid around $50,000 to host competitions on the Web 2.0 service.

These contests both lasted for a month, and saw the FMCG giants send thousands of free products to families across the world's most populous nation.

Wang Huai Nan, a co-founder of Babytree, said "it's not like any of our parents know which is the best brand of disposable diaper. They never had them when we were growing up."

Babytree was inspired from BabyCenter, a similar US property that was purchased by Johnson & Johnson for $10m in 2001, and Wang ultimately wants to expand it to cover all age groups.

"Children will grow up, and we'll grow with them," he said. "Someday the entire family will have a reason to come to it."

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff