The Chinese government’s “Great Firewall” blocks easy access within China to some major Western websites, including Google’s search engine and social media sites Facebook and Instagram. Yet Italian accessories e-retailer Forzieri has found that promotional campaigns on those U.S. social networks have boosted sales in China.

Andrea Forzieri, founder and CEO, Forzier

Andrea Forzieri, founder and CEO, Forzieri

There are two ways the Florence-based retailer reaches Chinese shoppers through Facebook and Instagram, says founder and CEO Andrea Forzieri. Many internet users in China use a technology called virtual private networks, or VPNs, to evade the government restrictions and reach blocked sites. In addition, Chinese friends and relatives living abroad often see posts on U.S. social sites and relay word of Forzieri’s products through such popular Chinese social networks as WeChat and Weibo.

“We end up being on Weibo and WeChat, because they pass this information around very quickly,” Forzieri says.

He says the company’s sales in China…


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