China Paradigm interviewed Thomas Nixon, the co-founder of Qumin, to talk about how he develops innovative digital marketing strategies in China and how he is helping Chinese brands to grow overseas.
Thomas Nixon, an insightful keynote speaker, sinologist, investor, and entrepreneur in China
He graduated from the University of Sheffield and National Taiwan Normal University in Chinese culture and Mandarin Chinese. Thomas Nixon had been working at Spectrum Insight for three years as a China analyst and Business insights before embarking on his entrepreneurship adventure in London. In 2013, Thomas joined the Qumin’s team and became its co-founder.
Today, as the Client Services Director, Thomas continues to guide global brands through the specificities of delivering social media campaigns in China. Qumin has some ambitious goals in providing more and more digital marketing strategies in China for the next few years, and Thomas will be responsible for realizing these ambitions.
Thomas is also a seasoned keynote speaker on online platforms in China. He has spoken at Cannes, Social Media Week, as well as delivered presentations to brands such as Adidas, BMW/Rolls Royce, Unilever, etc.
Qumin: a leading agency providing innovative digital marketing strategies in China
Qumin is a China-focused creative digital agency, the first and largest of its kind in Europe with offices in London and Shanghai. It helps British companies build a presence on online platforms in China as well as Chinese companies with digital marketing strategies in English-spoken countries.
It is the first digital agency in the UK that is dedicated to focus on digital marketing strategies in China by integrating online services for customers based on their marketing needs. It puts a great emphasis on online platforms in China and English-spoken countries, web design and development, SEO, and displays advertising.
“We’ve always had this ability to look at things across the whole spectrum from a Chinese side and a Western side. That has helped us to establish that presence in an international market doing Chinese work, as well as doing Chinese work in China and supporting companies there.”
One key to success: understanding Chinese culture clearly
Unlike many other stereotypical western views about the Middle Kingdom, as an expert in Chinese, Thomas Nixon understands Chinese culture consciously to help clients to launch their businesses in a modern Chinese context. By defining the market and running campaigns on online platforms in China and the UK in an unbiased way, Thomas provides professional strategies for his clients in order to win public praise from their targeted Chinese consumers. For instance, while cooperating with the Chinatown in London, Thomas refreshed the ingrained Western perceptions about Chinese culture by transforming the antiquated imagery of Chinatown into a vibrant historical community.
“What we wanted to do is to effectively rebrand Chinatown as a destination in London, somewhere that understanding Chinese culture and what China is becoming on the global stage, and also a place that Chinese people feel proud of,” Thomas explains.
When talking about Made in China in 2025, Thomas points out the current dilemma in the Western market. According to him, “There is still very much a stigma attached to China. It has not completely gone away.”
He emphasizes the importance of running social media campaigns in China for Western people to understand Chinese culture, especially soft power, to reverse western perceptions about China’s risen technology and innovation. “I think that actually ladders down or filters down to how people perceive Chinese brands by understanding Chinese culture. It’s allowed for a different perception of Chinese products,” said Thomas.
Effective social media campaigns in China and the UK
To help digital products from China and the UK succeed in blending into their mutual markets, Thomas identifies their significant differences and comes up with effective social media campaigns in China in order to draw attention from different audiences.
“What we found is that when Western companies are going to China, they have to be super innovative. They have to focus on their brands because they have the innovation and the technology,” said Thomas.
Thomas successfully helps Manchester United win the Chinese market. He deliberately focuses on online platforms in China to help Manchester United to build strong relationships with their targeted Chinese consumers by using WeChat marketing and H5 apps that own top popularity among Chinese people.
Also, conscious understanding of the Chinese consumers’ characteristics is a necessary step. After figuring out that Manchester United’s targeted Chinese consumers are mostly single and like watching manga, Thomas created a manga game with a quiz inside to engage with the audience. Similarly, when helping TikTok enter the British market, he identifies the psychology of the targeted consumers that “any young creative wants people to see and recognize his or her work.” To target them, Thomas ran a competition among British young people by stimulating their creativity and initiative. Hence, with the continual user growth, TikTok is now successfully going worldwide as a trendy online platform in China.