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'Hot and noisy' Chinese websites

Sinacom1 Anyone who has surfed around Chinese websites knows that they aren’t like English language ones. It’s the difference between raucous Coney Island and peaceful Central Park.

If you don’t know what I mean, click here or here or here.

Someone who studies the matter closely, Gord Hotchkiss, CEO of search marketing firm Enquiro, had this to say about the difference a while back:

"Chinese Web sites tend to be loaded with graphics that blink, spin and scream at us in bright colors. To Western eyes, a native Chinese Web page is often an abomination in design, completely amateurish and awkward. Our assumption is that the design is this way because of the lack of maturity in the Chinese market and the fact that they haven't progressed enough to adopt Western design standards. ...

"But the fact is, the Chinese prefer a presentation is loaded with visual stimuli. They even have a word for it. Renao. Loosely translated it means 'hot and noisy.' If you visit China, this manifests itself around every corner. In the cities, commercial ads scream for attention. A walk down the street is a sensual assault, a tsunami of stimuli that hits you on multiple levels. It's not necessarily that the Chinese market is less mature than the West; it's that what the Chinese user wants is not always the same as what the Western user wants.”


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Beautiful Mind from ZHONGGUO

if you don't see or say beautiful things that is because you have a ugly or dark mind, everything is the reflection of your thoughts, heart, and mind.


Chinese doesn't suffer as much from the whole "wall of text" effect where an whole block of English text can induce confusion. In fact a native reader of Chinese can casually eye ball the picture posted can absorb all the text in less than 10 seconds.

Personally my English proficiency is better than my Chinese proficiency even though I am a native Chinese speaker. I can read the same novel in Chinese much faster than I can do in English.


The reality is, Chinese audiences, even those in HK, Taiwan, etc. READ these ads. Likewise, pick up a Japanese magazine, and you similarly find it 'text heavy'.

Whereas Western style ads are mostly 'space' that is intended to catch a fleeting glimpse, Chinese ads tend to convey a lot of information, and the audience is hungry for it.

I do not know why this is, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with culture and willingness to read dense, information rich content as opposed to the dominance of graphics / visual presentation that is characteristic of Western ads.

One of the key reasons why Chinese language versions of American portals (ie ebay) have not done well is because they were not cognizant of this basic reality.

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"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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