As Chinese internet users spend more time online, they are increasingly being exposed to native advertising. This type of advertising is designed to blend in with the surrounding content and look like an ordinary article or post. While native advertising is still a relatively new phenomenon in China, it is growing rapidly and offers marketers a number of advantages over traditional forms of advertising. In this post, we will explore what native advertising is, how it works, and why it is becoming so popular in China.

Native ads are a form of marketing advertisement

Native ads are a form of marketing advertisement. Prior to the native ads, advertisers traditionally launch an ad by placing a banner ad on a webpage or serving an ad before a video plays.

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Since 2012 the form of native advertising has changed, transforming itself from only search advertising to something with more content. So many transformations and so many platforms, obviously for every business you have to use the right native advertising.

Chinese native advertising market overview

China’s native ads market is rapidly developing.  According to Statista, the native advertising sector in China was projected to generate almost 447 billion yuan in revenue in 2020. 

Annual revenue of the native advertising market in China from 2013 to 2020 — Data from Statista

In 2020, China’s native advertising will account for more than 50% of the total online advertising. The emerging native advertising represented by information flow will have a market of 200 billion visible within 5 years.

What are the best Chinese native advertising platforms?


Tencent is the market leader in social media in China with the most popular platforms being QQ and WeChat. In addition, Tencent holds a 15% stake in the giant e-commerce. Since September 2016, revenues from advertising for Tencent have grown mainly from WeChat.

As a social platform for acquaintances with a large number of users, WeChat Moments naturally has the ability to facilitate the rapid spread of social hot topics.

The WeChat Moments native ads are designed with participation links such as likes, comments, reposts, and followings. It also takes into account the user’s mobile experience, allowing users to participate in the brand’s native ads as if they were participating in friends’ ones.

Wechat native advertising example

Advertising can also be a part of social life, at least Wechat can do this. With high-quality media content, Wechat makes advertising easier and makes the advertisement closer to users’ life.

Checking Moments and using Wechat to communicate are important parts of Chinese social interactions. A WeChat user uses Moments 10 times a day on average. The articles read each month by a single user can add up to the thickness of a book.


Weibo is a Chinese microblogging site. It is a hybrid between Twitter and Facebook, is one of the most visited sites in China, it is estimated that more than 30% of people who have internet access in China use Weibo also because Chinese millennials are the biggest users of this platform.

When it comes to advertising, there’s the “Weibo Fans channel”, which offers 7 formats of information feeds and precise targeting functions to the ad buyers. The negative part is the high CPA and the difficulty in predicting performance.

3 types of native information flow on Weibo

“FuYi” or  Sina Fuyi is a precisely targeted and creatively optimized ads platform that provides advertisers with high-quality service. Based on the massive resources of dual-platform and multi-terminal, it can explore a large amount of data multi-dimensionally through, Sina Weibo, and mobile clients.


Baidu is the main search engine in the country and with percentages of use by Chinese users equal to those of Google.

Baidu employs for its digital marketing services a pay-per-performance platform (P4P) that uses pay-per-click technology (PPC). It also creates its in-feed ads service to display ads in its mobile app, browser, and forum, when people are viewing relevant things. But despite this, it remains more of a search engine where users pay less attention to content.

People’s active participation in native advertising will give them a deeper impression. In the new media environment, most of advertisements will add an interactive experience to obtain a better communication effect.

For example, Baidu Zhihu’s native ads are designed to engage users in the ways of following questions, writing answers, and writing reviews. This is exactly the same as other common question participation methods, ensuring the user’s original experience.


Toutiao is an app made in China capable of combining the typical functions of social networks with those of an information platform.

Created in 2012, it is an aggregator of news that, based on the tastes and preferences of the user, offers only tailor-made news, tailored to the needs of the individual.

Toutiao has more than 700 million registered users. The normal interaction behavior of users using Toutiao is to click on the title image and text, enter the text, and then interact by likes, comments and following. Most of Toutiao’s ads will directly jump to the brand APP or official website interface.


In China, UCG video platforms like Douyin (TikTok), Kuaishou, and Xigua Video are very popular in China, providing Chinese users platforms to edit and create professional content.

The rise of short videos has gathered a huge number of fans in a short time by offering techniques and platforms to create and share UGC videos.

Because of the high user stickiness and unique social media marketing attributes, native short video ads have opened up a huge market in a very short period of time.

The market size of China’s native video advertising reached 9.58 billion in 2017, achieving a geometric growth compared with the past two years. Some organizations predict that by 2020, the scale of short video content-driven advertising will reach 60 billion yuan.

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  1. Native ads has passed through the experimental stage and is now very much a commercial reality for publishers. iResearch estimates that the revenue of China’s native ads will reach 163.85 billion Yuan in 2017 with a share of nearly 40% in the whole online advertising market, and it’s expected that the revenue will account for half or even more of the online advertising market by 2020.

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