Silicon Valley startup Glogou teaches small companies how to say “Buy my product” in Chinese

Not long ago a group of Silicon Valley professions who were born in China — both marketing experts and engineers — launched a company aimed at helping small and medium businesses, lacking the marketing muscle of an Intel or Apple, penetrate the world’s fastest growing middle class.

The Santa Clara company’s name, Glogou — which stands for “global goes to you” — doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But its business plan is easy to grasp: It is a marketing sherpa to guide American companies in the nation with more than 400 millions Internet users and 700 million mobile phone subscribers.

“We want to be a bridge to China,” said co-founder Iris Huang. “Our mission is to help everyone become successful — to help them put food on their table.”

American companies hoping to pitch everything from technological components to tourist packages to Chinese consumers and companies face more than a language barrier. Trying to navigate the country’s giant search engine Baidu to place ads, for instance, is virtually impossible for non-Chinese, said Xiaojin Liu, another Glogou co-founder. “It’s not like Google, where you can just go online and get everything set up,” she said.

She and her colleagues help companies assess Chinese consumers and companies to see if there is a market for their product. They then craft a marketing campaign.

The startup, which also has a team in Beijing, has assisted hotel chains, a Southern California luxury real estate company, South Carolina’s state government trying to attract investors and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Glogou manages an outreach campaign to the university’s alumni in China on social networking site Weibo.

The startup revamped the marketing campaign of Surterre Properties in Orange County, including reworking its Chinese Web site. Chinese real estate shoppers are looking for more than the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in a house, Liu said. “They are buying a dream, not only a house,” she said. That means real estate ads need to focus on what schools and colleges are available nearby, what the local Chinese community is like and how far away is Hollywood, Liu said.

“In the five months since we launched our Chinese site, we’ve had 8,000 visits from the China geographic area,” said Paula Ansara-Wilhelm, co-founder of Surterre Properties. “In the four years prior, we only had a total of 7,000 visits.”


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