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Profile Sales & Marketing Market Update, China, Jan 2018

The following report provides an update on the key trends that we have observed within the Sales & Marketing job market in China. It identifies emerging themes across various industries and details the major factors impacting hiring and talent movement.


  • In the fourth quarter of 2017, the International Monetary Fund issued its World Economic Outlook, where it raised its 2017 GDP growth forecast for China by 0.1%. The upward revision reflects China’s strong economic performance in the first half of the year, which was reinforced by previous policy easing and supply-side reforms.

  • In particular, the luxury sector had a year of strong growth, a welcomed uplift following a tough few years since the start of President Xi Junping's anti-corruption campaign.

  • Although, the affluent consumers have been setting the pace when it comes to luxury spending, the rising middle class will be the demographic making waves in this sector over the next few years and will become the driving force behind luxury growth globally.

  • According to S&P Global Ratings, China’s 2017 online retail sales is approaching US$1 trillion, cementing the country as the largest e-commerce market in the world. 


  • The surge in digital has created an increasing need for employees adept at navigating the online space, yet the talent pool is small. With more and more industries and companies moving away from the traditional to a digital business model, the number of roles within this space will only grow. The hype today is around automation, social media, more media and digital channels, all of which have one thing in common - technology. In addition to this, the rise in mobile advertising and the fact that companies like WeChat and Weibo are providing direct access to consumers, it is clear as to why digital marketers, especially those with social media expertise, have become very much in demand.

  • Big data is fast becoming a company’s most powerful secret weapon. Identifying relevant global influencers is also becoming mainstream. With today’s market heavily driven by analytical information and intelligence, more and more attention and investments are being devoted to big data and consumer insight than ever before.

  • In some cases, the relationship between sales and marketing has become blurred, in that the job duties overlap or are very similar in nature. Sometimes, the job description contains the same KPIs, sales targets or even job responsibilities, many of which can be directly linked back to the areas of e-commerce, consumer insights and operations. The emphasis is clear in that employers are shifting their focus towards digitalisation and data driven inititatives.


  • Salaries for this year are expected to rise by 10%, while those at the junior to mid-level (Assistant Manager to Senior Manager) can expect a higher increment if moving to a new role.

  • Bonuses within the retail, consumer goods, banking and financial services sectors will be seen in the form of better incentives, including education and housing allowances, stock options and premium medical insurance, as companies continue to adopt strategies to retain and motivate staff.

  • Some local e-commerce and property corporations have been providing multiple bonuses through the year, for example quarterly or half yearly, in order to retain staff.  


  • At the Central Economic Work Conference, held in December last year, it is interesting to note that the main marketing related theme for 2018 was all things digital - AI, virtual reality, robot and big data.

  • Big data is relevant to various industries and will continue to play a large role in guiding and forecasting consumer wants and needs. Hiring activity will be greatest amongst advertising and e-commerce companies, who are the largest users of big data.

  • China's culture and entertainment industry will continue to boom, along with the content, traditional media, new media and gaming (mobile and live streaming) industries. PwC has revealed that China will overtake Japan to become the world’s second largest entertainment and media market by the end of 2018.

  • In terms of skills, professionals familiar with designing and implementing digitalisation projects will be top of mind for companies, along with those who have in-depth knowledge of CRM, analytics, social media and e-commerce platforms, including Alibaba and Tencent.


For more information or individually tailored advice, please do not hesitate to contact our regional Sales & Marketing team:

Shanghai Office - please contact Johannes Tan

Beijing Office - please contact Ming Ming

Hong Kong Office - please contact Brenda Choy

Singapore Office - please contact Karen Yap


Johannes Tan, Associate Director,  Profile Search & Selection


January 2018 

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