China is a booming market, yet too often, the western sites we know and love don’t work in China. There are so many things to know and do before an application is ready for China, but most organisations don’t have any idea where to begin. As a result, many companies miss out on the 1.4 billion users in China, 56 times the population of Australia! Prepping to be ready for China is a daunting task, but one which can reap great rewards. Adam Cogan has a great blog post that takes a look at some of the design challenges applications face, but I wanted to jump into some of the more technical aspects.
Let’s take a look at some of the crucial factors that must be considered…
- Integration with local single-sign-on offerings like WeChat
- Login via mobile number and mobile-first development
- WeChat MiniPrograms
- Local payment platforms (e.g. WeChat Pay and Alipay)
- Consideration of local social media alternatives and how they integrate into your app (e.g. WeChat, Youku, BiliBili, Weibo, QQ etc)
- Local hosting options for better connectivity (e.g. Alibaba Cloud, Huawei Cloud, Tencent Cloud)
- Colouring and UX design
- Smooth and consistent translation between Chinese and English
- Western integrations that may not work (e.g. Facebook)
- Publication in Chinese app stores
- Differing front-end technologies (e.g. Ant Design)
- The prevalence of QR codes
- Legal differences
- And much more!
Phew, that’s a lot to take in 😰! It can be an overwhelming experience with so much to consider. So, I want to explore the options developers have when making the plunge into the Chinese market. It is worth noting that Java is the most popular back-end language in China, but I am heavily experienced with the Microsoft ecosystem and C# language. As such, my aim throughout this blog will be to examine the different options available to .NET developers and how they can be applied in a flexible and maintainable manner.