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Is Marketing Christmas in Mainland China Worth It?

People in China treat Christmas like Westerners treat Chinese New Year, they don’t know a lot about it, but they will mildly celebrate. In China, typically the most people will do to celebrate will be make a post of WeChat or Weibo wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Younger people may use christmas as an excuse to go shopping, sing at KTV or go to a bar with friends, but overall Christmas is more of an excuse to have fun rather than a celebration in its own right. christmas in shanghai

While it may not celebrate Christmas, many stores in big cities sure dress the part. You will see lights, trees, and tinsel galore, but the profits do not reflect the effort. To put it into perspective, Single’s Day raised more money than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Many stores are trying to create additional sales between two of the largest consumer holidays in China. Some stores, particularly western ones, will have sales, but over all it pales in comparison to China’s national holidays.  

sax santa in chinaThere are very few Christmas traditions or celebrations. Some of the biggest cities in Mainland China, like Beijing or Shanghai, have a few christmas markets and have Santa come in, but these events are mainly geared to ex-pats. However, there are a few Christmas traditions that are uniquely chinese. Something unique to China is the image of Santa playing the Sax. No one knows for sure where this image came from, but many speculate that it originated from Bill Clinton playing it in the 1990s. Also, The word apple in Mandarin sounds similar to the word for peace in Mandarin so apples are a common gift around this time of apples

Christmas is growing in China. Places like Hong Kong and Macau officially recognize Christmas and have Christmas Day off as a public holiday. There are lights, wreaths, and trees in shops in Mainland China. However, China has a long way to go before Christmas becomes a major holiday. If you really want to market a Chinese holiday, I would recommend Singles Day or Chinese New Year.


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Is Marketing Christmas in Mainland China Worth It?


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