Demographics: Look beyond China's tiers

Tim Schlick
DDB China

Marketers struggling to grasp China's demographics must avoid simplistic findings and over-reliance on city tiers. The truth is far more complex.

China is massive. It is roughly the size of the US but with a population more than four times larger. It consists of 22 provinces, has eight official languages, a population of 1.3 billion people and 25 cities with a population of more than three million. Diverse in terms of economic development, culture and living conditions, to say China is a complex market is something of an understatement.

From a marketing communications perspective, the complexity of China - and how to effectively target Chinese consumers, from Shanghai to Dantong - is one of the biggest challenges of the industry.

There are three key challenges that await marketers in China.

1. Huge differences, no common taxonomy