UX landscape in China

(This is the presentation for 164. UX vienna meetup 14.8.2018)


It’s a great pleasure to share with you about the UX development and atmosphere in China, a country with 700 million internet users or aka. world largest intranet. I believe that what’s going on there is probably interesting and relevant to you. It’s really hard to capture every perspective, yet I will try to point out some of the most remarkable features and cases that won’t let you down.

You probably already know that we have alternatives for all commonly products or services in the west. Because of the censorship (turn out to be neutral), we don’t have access to almost any of global product unless we use VPN. As a curious digital designer back to my university, I got the chance to use both of them, and local ones are more often than not poorly designed, insufficient usability or buggy. However years later, a number of Chinese copycat products, both hardware and software surprisingly surpass the western ones. For instance, from zhihu.com to huawei, from wechat to DJI so on and so forth.

Fang vs BAT
After years of internet booming in China, the CAT (which are…) is catching the FANG(which are…).

As well as the unicorn companies (privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion). Didi is the alternative app for uber yet after the serious campaign and governmental mediation, didi acquired Uber’s China unit and became the largest player in China.

For more sophisticated political and economical context, don’t miss this interesting article.


TOP 5 Multiple ways of login

Most web apps/apps in China use the SMS method- you authenticate via your phone number (which is in turn tied to your ID). This feature is widely adopted in China years ago with benefits like friendly for low-educated people and the elderly and low memory burden. And by the way, every phone number is registered and connected with national ID.

Top 4 Paid Knowledge

As an app store annual app, DeDao is a very good example. The app provides paying users with a library of books in various subjects and summarized into 30 minute, quality podcasts with transcripts. It has won 20 billion user 200 thousand paid users in 2 years.

Top 3 VUI + iOT

Anyone recognize this brand? If you don’t know, I strongly recommend you to go to SCS shopping mall to experience it. Although the products are not so well localized yet still worth paying a visit. Now here is a nice video on how xiaomi manages its eco system, which includes scooter, rice cooker, eBike, toothbrush you name it.

Top 2 AI Affinity

AI is the national strategy and the tech giants in China are fighting for it. What you see here is design in 2018 tech report by John Maeda, which emphasizes the AI power in design. Let’s dig into the video.

Top 1 Super App

This video is a bit old yet render well the concept of super app from western point of view.

A systematic analyse on WeChat from nng


Top 0 Entertainment

Tiktok was downloaded an estimated 45.8 million times. People spend hours everyday on it. Please check out this video.

UX Industry Report

IXDC is one of the leading UX organization in China Collaborating with Tencent UX team, annual report is published since 2013. A survey with 2801 samples has shown the current overview of UX in China. https://ixdc.org/2018/research

  1. UXers have gender balance; mostly 25–30 years old and work from 1 to 5 years.
  2. Half of the UX team are medium or big
  3. Product, user feedback and revenue are the most significant criteria for work
  4. BAT is steady top of the dreaming job list
  5. Majority of UXer in China earn between 6000 and 30 000 Euro annually
  6. Tool sets are bit classic
  7. People work more than 8 hours a day
Demography of UXer in China
Team and Evaluation
Most desirable companies and annual income
Woking tools and hours

The so-called 996 work schedule, which refers to employees working from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week, has become the norm for employees of internet companies. The working hours have become an “unspoken rule” in many enterprises.

After rapidly growing for about a decade, the number and quality of UX publication, forums, educational programmes, conferences, workshops, agencies, consultancies, institutions are constantly increasing. However large ratio of the outputs and reports are mainly Chinese only.

The growing landscape of UX in China is rendered by a couple reasons:

  1. the vass number users data collection and analysis
  2. government side: Internet plus policy, startup boost etc.
  3. the nutrients from the west, crazy workload
  4. extremely competitive domestic market
  5. Overseas talents bring ideas and knowledge back to China

Thank you for your attention!

If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to ask or tweet Nathan Guo.