Understand Chinese consumers perspectives to make better products, services and brands that meet their desires and needs

Focus groups are a great way to get feedback while understanding the reasons behind the preferences of your target users in China in a moderated group discussion. Group discussions facilitate talking with more people in a shorter amount of time and allow for the participants to build on each other’s beliefs while painting a more robust picture of what they think.

We help western brands, and research agencies run focus groups in China

Our focus is to ensure the process is smooth, fast, reliable and most importantly, high-quality. Our team of Chinese researchers are multi-lingual, with all focus group interviews conducted in Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese or Shanghainese), with research reports output in English.

Our custom-built research facility includes an observation room with a 3.5-metre one-way mirror with a translation station, for simultaneous interpreters to interpret the focus group discussions in real-time. Simultaneous interpreters allow your non-Chinese speaking team to attend the focus groups, observe what is going on, and be involved in post-interview debrief and analysis spoke in English with our interview moderators and research assistants. If your team cannot attend the focus group interviews, the audio recording of the simultaneous interpretation can be live-streamed with video and recorded for later analysis.

Our researchers have experience running focus group interviews in China across multiple industries, including automotive, new retail, outbound tourism, beauty, luxury, digital, and many more.

“They quickly got the point of what we want to achieve, and came up with a solid execution plan in a short turnaround time. During the project execution phase, they met all the major timelines and demonstrated their professional expertise on user studies and design.”

Microsoft Office 365 focus group

Microsoft Office 365 focus group


Brian Zhou - Country Engagement Manager (China) at Microsoft

Cosmetics focus group interview

Cosmetics focus group interview

Meet our researchers

Ying Wang

Ying is a UX researcher with an eye for detail and the ability to observe more about users than they represent about themselves and synthesize the data into meaningful insights. She specializes in helping UX Spot clients understand Gen X Chinese consumers.

Recruit the right respondents for your focus groups

Our research team understands the nuances of user demographics in China, from geographical to socio-economic factors and tiers of city, we know how to recruit the ideal respondents for your focus groups to match your business needs.

Our screening process ensures that we are only recruiting authentic respondents for your focus groups. We run pre-interviews with all respondents that pass the screening process to ensure they’re talkative and request evidence that they are a target consumer (the receipt of purchasing a product, ownership of vehicle etc.)

As well as hosting focus group interviews in our Shanghai facility, our research team regularly travels and hosts focus groups in cities across greater China when your target respondents are represented in different tier cities and regions.

We typically prefer to keep focus group sizes small to allow for more in-depth discussions, to uncover more complex themes. Ranging from triad focus groups with 3 participants, to groups of 6-8, we will propose a strategy that suits your project in China.

We help best in class companies run UX research in China.

Our focus group process

Our detailed approach is a proven method for success.

Frequently asked questions on focus groups in China

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask us your question directly and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

How much does it cost to run a focus group in China?

The cost of running a focus group in China is based on how many participants will be in each group, the length of your focus group, and how many services you require from the research agency in China. Running focus groups in China can be more expensive than in the west if you need localization of your materials, simultaneous interpretation, and written translation. The standard set of focus group services required for a complete project include:

Recruitment: The incentive for participants and recruitment fees are for the efforts to locate, screen, and manage participants. The number of participants you have in the group and how unique the criteria is for their recruitment will significantly affect the recruitment price. Recruitment costs are billed per participant.

Research design: Creating the discussion guide and stimuli for the focus group interviews. A discussion guide can be provided by your team, created by a research agency in China, or co-created to ensure proper localization and translation. Research design billed on a time and materials basis or a fixed cost depending on the clarity of the brief.

Facility: The rental of a research facility to run your focus group interview. A research facility will typically have a one-way mirror and an observation room with in-depth video and audio recording equipment. Facilities are usually billed by the hour or at a day rate.

Interview moderation: An experienced focus group interview moderator that is fluent in both Chinese and English is required when running focus groups for western clients in China. An interview moderator's time is usually billed by the hour or at a fixed rate per interview.

Simultaneous interpreters: If your team doesn’t speak Chinese and will be in the observation room, you will need an interpreter to convert the discussions in real-time into English. Simultaneous interpreters are billed by the hour.

Research assistants: When analysis and reporting are required as a deliverable, it is essential to have a professional researcher observing the focus group interview to take notes. The research assistant plays a vital role in recapping, debriefing, and then the analysis and reporting of the focus groups. Research assistants are billed by the hour or at a fixed rate per interview.

Analysis and reporting: Reports delivered in English can range from a concise 6-page top-line report to in-depth 60-page reports that include a full summary and analysis of all topics and themes, with localization recommendations and market advice. The cost of analysis and reporting is usually billed at a fixed price once the expected deliverables are aligned.

Additional costs grow if there is travel needed, catering needs, video highlight reels, or any other additional requests.

As a starting cost, it will cost 3-4000 USD per focus group in China. Contact our research manager if you would like a tailored quote for your project.


Your focus group should run in a city (or cities) in China, which best represents where your target consumer lives. Cities in China are most commonly classified by a tier system, Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4. The tiers are based on an unofficial mixture of references including but not limited to population, GDP, and consumer sophistication, with Tier 1 representing the most developed cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

It can be advantageous to run focus groups in a mixture of cities, tiers, and provinces, to ensure you're collecting insights from all relevant consumer markets. But this can hike up the costs quickly.

If you're only running 1-2 focus groups, a Tier 1 city such as Shanghai do provide a good representation of Chinese consumer insights, particularly with western products and services.

How long does it take to run a focus group project in China?

A focus group project generally takes around one month from start to end. We typically need two weeks for recruitment and during this time can complete the research design in parallel. Once the focus group(s) are executed, another two weeks is needed for analysis and reporting.

Wrapping up a busy year at UX Spot our Research Director, Samuel Jesse was invited on The China Startup Pulse podcast to discuss UX best practices and product localization in China with host Oscar Romas from China Accelerator.

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