The improving level of health awareness is generating growth in medical device sales in China and therefore also increasing the popularity of massage equipment brands. As people start earning more money in developing countries, they start spending it on themselves, improving their quality of life. Many of them spend long hours in a sitten position, growing the need for massage equipment to release muscle pain.

The global massage equipment market is growing, estimated to reach 10.57 million dollars in 2022. China becomes a significant player in the worldwide market, dominating the Asia-Pacific massage equipment market growth. In this blog post, we will take a look at this growing market and examine the opportunities for foreign companies in the massage equipment market in China.

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China Healthcare Market Insights

The healthcare market in China is growing rapidly, presenting many growth opportunities to all its market segments, and the massage equipment market is also one of them. As more than 750 million middle-class consumers with higher disposable income want to improve their health and life quality, they start investing in electric massage equipment, physical activities, and professional services.

The Covid-19 pandemic also has helped in this trend, making people worry about their health more than ever before. It also shows the state of healthcare in China. Thus, China’s politicians have scheduled stronger investments in the sector for its 14th-year plan. Private healthcare has become a necessity for many Chinese who highly value their health. Market research shows, that China’s healthcare market is forecasted to reach US$18.63 billion in 2026, experiencing growth at a CAGR of 36.89% during the forecast period.

china healthcare market highlights

In addition, China’s healthcare industry is currently ranked the second largest in the world. And even if it is huge, the government’s current expenditure amount only to 6,57%, of the GDP, showing great potential for growth. It is also estimated that China will have a 25% share of the global medical devices industries by 2030.

China’s Massage Equipment Market Overview

As the global massage equipment market is growing, so is the Chinese one. Massage equipment market analysis shows, that the Asia Pacific Massage Equipment Market is expected to witness market growth of 9.5% CAGR during the forecast period (2022-2028). The China massage equipment market size dominated the Asia Pacific market growth by Country in 2021 and is expected to continue to be a dominant market till 2028, achieving a market value of $1,058 million.

When it comes to massage equipment, China is in the top 5 key consumer markets, with the US, Japan, Germany, and France. As we mentioned earlier, the global pandemic contributed to the market growth of the massage equipment market. In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID epidemic, while gyms and fitness centers were closing and seeing their number downsizing by +13%, the consumption of massage guns increased by +120%. When it comes to massage gun consumption, the massage equipment market report shows that Guangdong, Beijing, and Jiangsu had the biggest market share of all Chinese provinces.

New Market features & trends have appeared in 2020

  • The shift of investment/consumption demand from treatment to prevention
  • Increasing acceptance of wearable medical devices
  • Increase in the use of miniaturized devices
  • M&A between technological and medical companies and the application of many technologies, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, or data analytics software, to the medical sector
  • More openness toward foreign investments. The central government while adding new items to the National Encouraged List, deleted items from the National negative list. Such a decision allows overseas companies to take advantage of preferential policies and tax rates.

The massage equipment market is changing from a product-driven model to a data-driven model

Technology is fundamental for companies present in the Chinese market as the knowledge of citizen behavior and consumption demand are more and more at the disposal of companies. So, if you want to enter the Chinese competitive landscape, you should consider partnerships with digital companies that can help your company leverage these data in order to meet Chinese needs.

An example is Huma, a UK start-up that with the support of digital partners, such as Tencent, developed two monitoring systems that are able to collect data from many devices and, even more important, use them to predict and prevent chronic diseases.

Smart appliances are one of the biggest upcoming trends in emerging economies, and Chinese people are especially keen on smart devices and machines. Electric massage equipment with free customization and smart options will see sales in the upcoming years, so all the companies offering such products have a great opportunity to grow into key market players in China.

Shanghai Rongtai Health Technology: one of the most popular smart massage chairs on the massage equipment market

What massage equipment companies should consider before entering China?

Despite China offering a great range of possibilities for new entrants, massage equipment brands, as well as all medical device sellers need to be aware of how difficult is to compete in this huge environment.

First of all, companies that want to sell medical devices in China should ask for the approval of China’s National Medical Product Administration (NMPA).

Then, there is a Medical Device Classification Catalogue, which categorized the devices into three groups, according to the level of risk for patients using such devices. This classification implied different regulations related to each category.

In addition, some imported device brands are required to follow stricter regulations compared to domestic massage equipment.

How can foreign massage equipment brands enter the Chinese market?

To compete in a such competitive market as China, it’s necessary doing long-term investments and taking the right strategic decisions. One thing we know for sure about the China of the future is the extreme digitalization of its society. China already has a much higher degree of digitalization compared to Western countries, and this trend is expected to grow.

Chinese customers already are used to shopping online, so creating an omnichannel digital strategy is the best way to break into the Chinese market.

Create a Chinese website with a “.cn” domain for good branding

With the help of designers and copywriters specializing in the Chinese market, you can build a website able to attract your target audience in the massage equipment market. The translation is not enough in China since the way of thinking of western people is sometimes totally different from Chinese. Also, the colors and the structure of the website don’t follow the same standards.

In addition, it’s important to have a Chinese website with a “.cn” domain to be ranked among the results of Chinese Search Engines. Baidu search engine (or any other one used in China) favors websites that are hosted in China over foreign ones. The market scope of massage equipment brands is growing, so if you want to attract people to your website, you need to optimize it according to their needs and the Chinese market.

Take care of Baidu SEO

The standard behavior of the Chinese is to look for information about products on the internet (so not very different from western citizens), but instead of using Google, they are mainly using Baidu.

Baidu SEO rules are similar to the ones that we know from Google. It’s important to optimize a Chinese website in terms of keywords, meta descriptions, images, image attributes, and so on so that it will rank high in search result pages.

SEO is a long-term solution as it takes time to rank highly if you have no previous visibility in China. The strategy is to develop backlinks to your site from other highly ranked pages that in turn increase your ranking.

Manage your e-reputation

Chinese Internet has many different options for users to search for information, just like we are used to in the West. Apart from search result pages, Baidu offers many other platforms and services, so that Internet users and companies can communicate with each other in many different ways, through different content formats and websites.

One of the great ways to build good e-reputation is to participate in forums. You can create topics about your products or massage equipment market on Q&A forums (like Zhihu, Tieba, Zhidao, etc.) and they become visible on Baidu. Baidu ranks all its platforms above the others, so whenever you use some platform from the Baidu ecosystem, you increase your chances in Baidu SEO.

Chinese people rely on word-of-mouth marketing and they look for recommendations and product reviews online, either on social media platforms (that we will comment on below) or on forums and websites. And, what is important to mention, forums are still very popular and alive in China, so it’s definitely worth giving it a try.

Build good branding with the use of Chinese social media platforms

The sense of community is an important value in Chinese society. This concept has been transferred to the digital ecosystem, and social media is the main representation. According to your target and your business as well as to your objectives, you should consider the best one.

WeChat: the best place to nurture your audience

Wechat is the most used social media platform in China, with over 1.26 billion monthly active users as of 2022. It is also the main platform to reach older users since they usually used it to pay. But not only, if you want to do a long-term investment in China, but you also need to have it to nurture your audience. It is a close ecosystem but is useful to gain customers’ data and also to retain their loyalty with a creative strategy.

Brands can start official accounts, that will allow them to send newsletters to their audience. With an official account, you can also create your own mini-program, where you can display your massage equipment in a brochure or create your own Wechat store so that people will be able to directly purchase your products within the platform.

Massage equipment market - theragun on wechat

Above you can see a WeChat mini-program of Theragun company. The company is very successful in China, reaching a turnover of 5.5 million yuan on Tmall in November 2020. Although the company already has a well-established presence in China, operating both on Tmall and JD, they also offer their customer their WeChat mini-program and store, so that it’s convenient for all types of customers.

Mini programs can be also used for video content and educational materials, showing how to use those devices, and what will be good for which type of muscle pain so that customers don’t need to go through extensive research to use your devices.

Weibo: the best place to become viral

An open social network that can let your company be visible to a huge public choosing the right promotional campaign for the brand. The right KOL and the right event can be the best way to let the name of your brand be viral in China.

Xiaohongshu (or Little Red Book): the best to build trust

The place where your company can create trust. Through the above-mentioned “shopping notes” and the collaboration with Key Opinion Customers, they are influential people but less popular than KOL. Even if they have a lower number of followers, they can offer your company a better ROI, since users think they are more reliable than the “expensive” influencers.

RED is good for building brand reputation, as people come there for brand reviews and recommendations. You can also use different content formats and offer live-streaming sessions with influencers from the massage equipment market or health industry.

These are just some of the most used Chinese social media at present. If you want to know more about this topic, don’t hesitate to contact us.

How to sell massage equipment in China?

As we mentioned before, imported products need to be approved by the legal authority of NMPA. So, only after getting permission and having prepared other required documents, a company can be present on the Chinese market.

E-commerce platforms: the best place to sell in China at present

Chinese users most of the time do shopping on e-commerce platforms, a habit that is arriving in Europe with Amazon, but that isn’t popular as in China yet.

Some advice for unknown companies in China

You should choose the right platform according to the popularity of your brand in China. If it’s the first time you sell in China and your brand isn’t popular in the country, maybe it’s better to test the market. In this case, a good option can be to sell on Koala or on Wechat, a not expensive option, and also, a place where it isn’t difficult to get a registration.

Some advice for popular brands in China

On the contrary, if you are already popular in mainland China, you should consider joining Tmall, JD, or Taobao, as they are the largest e-commerce platforms in China. In addition, these shopping apps ensure to the sale of high-quality products, a fundamental feature in the healthcare sector.

Case Study: SKG massage equipment brand sales boosted during Double 11

China is an environment in continuous development, where brands should continually find new solutions to get success. The massage device brand SKG demonstrates to have understood this main lesson of the market, fielding an incredible campaign on 11.11.

In fact, for the 2020 Double 11 event, the company, which is a fashion entry lux tech internationally recognized brand, worked with its new Ambassador Wang Yibo, performing a perfect multi-channel strategy.

How SKG sold a huge amount of massage equipment during Double 11

The brand promoted the product through the right celebrity (Wang Yibo), the right event Double 11, the right tools (live-streaming and Weibo), and other perfect strategical decisions.

The result was that Wang Yibo, who is a famous Chinese singer, actor, and racing driver, sold 100 thousand SKG massage devices in the first minute of the shopping event. Also, the SKG tool ranked 1st in the massage category on both JD and Taobao e-commerce platforms.

But let’s see why.

The key points of the SKG plan are:

  • Promoting the product with a live streaming video, this tool, in fact, is the real new trend in China at present;
  • Working with the right KOL. Wang Yibo is a star among young Chinese, and this is the right target audience as the new generations recently reveal more interest in health-related, high-quality, and technology products. In addition, SKG cooperated with brands with which Wang works on Weibo to increase the virality of the campaign, such as Colgate.
  • Promoting on the right social media platform. Weibo has been the perfect place to promote cause the Ambassador’s followers on Weibo are more than 36 million. In addition, the platform is one of the best tools to do branding due to its openness, in the sense that anyone can see Weibo content without registering or executing any other difficult procedures.
  • Selling in the right e-commerce platforms. JD and TMALL are the marketplaces for well-known brands. If your brand is very popular in China, you should have them cause they are the most used online shopping platform in the country.
  • Together with a collaboration with the right KOL, combining the launch of a new product with a famous shopping event can allow your campaign to become viral.

How to find a trustworthy company agency in China?

Gentlemen Marketing Agency (GMA) has long experience in the field of digital marketing in China. We helped over 600 brands from many market sectors and industries over 10 years.

We offer many different services, from in-depth analysis of the market, through entry-strategy, finding distributors, and web design, to social media strategy, influencer marketing, public relations, and many more.

Here are some of our case studies:

We offer a free discovery consultation, where we will learn about your brand and check how we can help. We invite you to leave us a comment or contact us, so that our experts can contact you for further development.

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