Top 3 Mistakes in Chinese Versions of Global Businesses

China is on its inevitable path to being the world’s largest economy, with $9 trillion GDP, 1.3 billion people and fast growing middle class. This makes crucial important for any business with global aims nowadays.

Since Chinese consumers prefer online shopping in native Chinese, more and more come to set up Chinese version of website, expecting selling products to Chinese, but some keep struggling to get business messages out to the China market in a way that is understandable, engaging, and profitable.

The fact is most of Chinese versions come out initially from translation. However, the literal translation may conduct defective in presentation due to different business culture. Here’re top 3 common mistakes in some global businesses’ Chinese version you should learn to avoid in your version.

1, Incorrect Translation of Keywords and Key Phrases

Apparently, this is the most terrible mistake for any multi-lingual site, as we all know wrong keywords leads wrong targets totally.

Here’s a sample from Grob, a global business from Switzerland, whose original keywords in English is cold forming machines.

On Chinese home page


Incorrect keywords search on

Correct keywords search on

Similar mistake is one brand holds a couple of Chinese names simultaneously, which gets Chinese confused in business identity.

Global brand name: Berkshire Hathaway


2, Unconventional Expression Sometimes Literal Translation Only

The simple literal translation of ExonMobil sub menu looks strange in Chinese conventional expression. Chinese are familiar with short key phrases rather than one sentence in menus.


Even respective iPhone shows odd Chinese on its product page. It doesn’t make sense saying: “iPhone 7, here”. It should actually be “iPhone 7, honor to launch here” instead in this case.

Another reputable giant, Shell, presents its philosophy on “About Us” page, but the copy sounds in very strange way Chinese may feel uncomfortable to read.

3, Inappropriate Presentation in China Business Environment

Your product application, case study, customer reference and testimonials work well in English Internet. However, these need to be localized to build up China business context so that your business looks kindly and mature from Chinese customers’ view.

In certain, Chinese are more likely to learn how you help China customers, no matter how great your company is. Those local stories may inspire those others similar to what you concern on pages.

Better IBM tells more about how they help China enterprises successfully with their solutions.


WebEx, an US web conference provider, puts its simple but great copy on home page, while this goes pretty average on its Chinese counterpart.


Great copy works perfectly in its business context. This may be in vain if it gets translated literally. Therefore, China marketing guys need to involve in copywriting in order to keep original copy great sense in China market.

In regards with “Call for Action”, Chinese has its own way in leads generation in comparison with Western. Chinese only love “Call Now” if the business allocates in China, but they prefer “Submit Request” via online form if it’s outside China. Chinese like to be connected on WeChat and keep informed by you later. Live chat is another popular way for communication Chinese accept to engage with your business.

Advise to Those Who’s Building Chinese Version of Website

  • Make sure your Chinese keywords not only match exactly original ones in business means but be searched correctly by Chinese customers in major China search engines.
  • Get China SEO and marketing guys involved in the process of Chinese translation, which saves your time and money greatly in one time.
  • Ask for feedback from your Chinese customers and keep Chinese version adjusted as always, to conduct an understandable and profitable one.

About QiYang Marketing

QiYang Co., Ltd. is pure China digital company specialized in China Internet marketing consulting, with over 18 years experiences in serving foreign companies from around the world, in the industries of travel, education, finance, investment, and more. QiYang helps its clients for the development of strategy, plan and execution, performance evaluation and optimization, with the following service packages.