Strategic Look at Weddings in China

A really well done video produced by Thoughtful China on the potential of the weddings business in China – all $80 million of it.

My thoughts on the potential of the Chinese wedding market and how to best target marketing & communications.

1. Post 1980s generation China adapting western ideals, but still traditional in many ways. Increasingly, many couples are choosing destination weddings to complement their local Chinese banquet dinners.

Destination weddings tend to be small because as part of Chinese hospitality and face issue, the bride and groom pays for their whole wedding party, flights and hotels included for their closest family and friends.

Mixed race couples and less traditional Chinese couples probably approach this differently. Resorts and beach weddings are popular and increasingly, travel agents and hotels will work at making this as convenient and painless as possible.

2. Spa for hen nights promotions, tapping into potential of future brides and part of a CRM system – going social with contests, getting more UGC (user generated content), growing fan numbers, building social equity. In the same way, Mother/daughter/Grandmother health and wellness spa packages could work really well before they have to “give away” the only daughter in the family – often tearful affairs.

3. The one child policy and how weddings are big events for parents on both sides and no expense is spared for this once in a lifetime affair. There are opportunities to revolutionise the tea ceremony, an important custom in the Chinese wedding. Revisiting and creating accessible modern day almanac readings: choosing the most auspicious day to get married (particularly for Hong Kong and the Southern Chinese) This Snake year in 2013 seems to be a good year for marriage for most Chinese Zodiacs.

4. Tiffany and Cartier is set to lead the engagement & wedding rings business, both have translated Chinese names that read easily and well, as compared to luxury brands like Van Cleef and Arpels which is a mouthful and embarrassing for the Chinese to pronounce. So, if you have a global brand partnership, it might be worth thinking how to localise this for China. Tiffany has positioned itself for their diamonds, particularly for engagement rings and Cartier made a successful entry into the market showcasing the heritage of its full collection in exhibitions in Shanghai 2004 and in Beijing at the Forbidden City in 2009 with a tagline “King of Jewellers, Jewellers to Kings” which struck a cord with the Chinese and establishing their brand positioning very strongly in the Chinese luxury market.

5. The video also mentions the sidianjin 四点金 which is a tradition that is still practiced today. There are opportunities for jewellers to look at reinventing this traditional gift and if entering the China market for the first time, a way to get straight to the right positioning.

Hotels are constantly reinventing themselves as are wedding planners to tap into this potential. The Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in Macau even holds a “wedding university” every quarter, a 2 hour intensive programme to help couples plan their wedding, with experts hand holding them through the process and making choices. In addition, they have a whole site devoted to weddings, planning one and real couples weddings!

On this note, Pinterest has a brilliant collection of ideas and slightly different but equally interesting ideas on Sina Weibo’s Weikan 微刊 with a similar Pinterest interface.

Juliana Loh

Juliana is a freelance marketing communications strategist with more than a decade of experience in the field of advertising, journalism and luxury hospitality, with a focus on China and the Asia Pacific region.



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