Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) published the results of a focus group study yesterday which asked Chinese consumers about wearable devices. As smartwatches and other wearable tech begin to surface, China will undoubtedly be a battleground for customer acquisition. But is the soil here fertile enough for such a market to grow?
Of the more than 40 respondents that Baidu interviewed over three months, 40 percent had heard of wearable devices, with men more likely than women. Respondents’ understanding of what the devices are capable of and how they work, though, is still relatively low. Most were also unaware of any specific brands or models on the market today.
The report categorized potential buyers into three categories: tech savvy, professional, and entertainment. Tech savvy customers are the most difficult to market to, as they are less swayed by marketing and more focused on the specs. Professionals include athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want a smart device for a specific activity. The third group wants something that looks good and can entertain them.
So, is China ready for wearable devices? Some seem to think so. Shanda subsidiary GEAK launched its Android-powered smartwatch in July and managed to sell about 30,000 per month since, which isn’t exactly impressive but shows there is a market out there. We’ve already started seeing clones of foreign devices, such as the Codoon Sports Bracelet, a rip-off of the Jawbone Up.
(Editing by Steven Millward)