Comparison of web design: global vs. Chinese version
Today let's have a look at the web design of popular websites and let's focus on the main differences between their global and Chinese version.
Here is the comparison of some well-known sites and their Chinese version:
There are some significative differences in web design between amazon.com and amazon.cn.
As you can see below, the Chinese site displays a complete menu (from top search to comment space) at the top of the page in addition to another focused on the catalogue on the left like in the global version.
Some functionnalities differ and are not located at the same position in both sites. For example, the cart icon isn't integrated in the search box but displayed in the top menu on amazon.cn.
Plus, you can notice that the color used on Amazon China's website is a light blue shading compared to a plain dark blue on the worldwide website. You can also see that joyo.com's logo is still displayed on the webpage (Amazon acquired the Chinese bookstore joyo.com in 2004).
Let's now compare the design of Google's websites. As you know, google.cn now redirects to google.com.hk after Google decided in March 2010 to stop censoring its search results in China.
The main web design difference between Google.com and Google.com.hk consists of the numerous icons displayed under the search box in the Hongkongese version that enable users to access directly Google's services.
No difference in the web design of Apple's global and Chinese websites. Check it out yourself:
Yahoo! China's homepage might look similar to the global page: they both display a large block of news content in the middle of their homepage. However, the menu on the left of the page offers more functionnalities on yahoo.com than on yahoo.cn.
There are also differencies in the other blocks (for example 'trending now' vs. access to email on the right).
You can also compare the length of the two versions. Yahoo! China's homepage is very long compared to global's (I cut the homepage screenshot though to enable you to read the end of this post without scrolling down too much...).
The main difference between ebay.com and ebay.cn is the position of the search box within the site. On the global version, the search box is located just under the logo at the top of the home page whereas it is more down in the Chinese website. The organization of the blocks also largely differs.
When I look at MSN's global and Chinese websites, I can see many differences in the homepage pages: not the same structure, not the same colors. However, there is always the bing search box at the top. The global version looks much lighter than its Chinese equivalent to me.
The web design of Microsoft's global website homepage differs from the Chinese site only by the color: sky blue to light blue shading vs. orange to white shading for the Chinese version. Do you have any idea why they chose these colors ? I don't know but microsoft.fr has the same web design as Microsoft China's website...
As you can see above, some companies decided to have the same website design as their global website and only translate content for their Chinese version. Others display a different web design and modify their website structure.
The challenge for global websites is of course to strengthen their brand image and adapt China's market at the same time.