China Marketing Weekly: Double Twelve And More
As the West is getting ready for Christmas, there’s yet another shopping event in China. Now it’s time for Double Twelve. Don’t worry, I was pretty surprised when I saw it for the first time as well. Why another shopping event so soon after Double Eleven? And that’s more or less the attitude in our office as well. It screams 50% discount, but in reality the discounts don’t usually exceed 5%. Double Twelve is more focused on small vendors, who cannot afford to join in for the Double Eleven madness, and supermarkets. Also, you could find more Groupon-like deals, for example, “buy a voucher for a romantic dinner” or “pay for 5 cups of coffee, get one free”.
Now, let’s move to the latest news. Next week we’ll talk about Christmas. :-)
Shopping & Payments
Tencent is moving forward to offline retailing business. On Dec 11, Yonghui Supermarket sold 5% of its shares to Tencent. Yonghui's newly launched conceptual project "Super Species" aims at catering and fresh product market. Tencent’s job will be covering advertisement part, using the users data from WeChat and QQ. The platform will probably become the direct competitor of Alibaba's "Boxed Fresh"(盒马). However, unlike Alibaba, Tencent has not created an efficient channel to turn its users into "buyers". Yet. - Read more (Chinese)
Luxury brand market witnessed a strong up-beat in the e-commerce section. Online sales in China increased by 12 percent compared to the last year. GMV of Secoo, a platform providing luxury brand products and services, reached $209.6 million in Q3 2017, which is an over 60% increase compared to 2016. - Read more (English)
How does it influence foreign luxury brands then? What’s important here is that in past most of the purchases were made abroad. Now, thanks to online platforms, the tendency is to buy luxury goods in China.
Based on what I’ve seen travelling in Europe, Chinese tourists are most likely to be seen in groups. As they often don’t speak English, organised trips have so far been a perfect solution. It may change in the near future though, as WeChat, the most popular app among Chinese people, just showcased its CityExperience Mini Program. They partnered with the tourism boards of Dubai, London and Sydney in creating a program which will help organise a whole trip. It makes suggestions for local restaurants or attractions, estimated duration for each location, addresses, cultural information. It also provides videos, pictures and audio guides making it an easy and complete experience. - Read more (English)
They are not the only one who came up with the idea. Mafengwo, a startup that grew up to being an independent travel platform, just finished raising funds for its global development. - Read more (here)
Another way to target Chinese tourists? Create a hotel-like home-sharing experience. What’s the most important for them? Don’t make them clean up the apartment, they want the convenience hotels offer. Provide a UnionPay or Alipay booking payment and a Mandarin speaking online service. - Read more (English)
WeChat Pay had been implemented at physical retailers in Europe. What are the difficulties it may face? First, currency exchange. All of the transactions are completed with an on-the-spot exchange rate while Chinese customers prefer choosing the most preferential date for the exchange, just as it’s provided by UnionPay service. Second, internet access. If retailers do not provide WiFi, tourists are not very likely to turn on they international data to complete the payment. Third and most important, WeChat Pay daily transactions are limited to 10,000 Yuan, which is not much considering Chinese tourists aim at luxury brands when they travel abroad. - Read more (English)
Socials & Apps
Following other platforms, WeChat officially announced that its “Statement of Originality” and “Comment” features are now open to all of the WeChat’s official accounts. It means you no longer need a verified account to get comments from WeChat users. “Statement of Originality” feature will protect authors of content and prevent unauthorised forwarding or copying. - Read more (Chinese)
WeChat is investing more into creating Facebook-like ads algorithm. In theory it sounds like a good idea as mobile shopping gets more and more popular. The problem here is WeChat users’ behaviour does not show a huge resemblance to Facebook users’ habits. According to our social team’s feedback, conversion rate for WeChat Moments is relatively low and it usually works only for famous brands. - Read more (English)
Have you heard of Toutiao? It started expanding in the US by purchasing local companies, like Musical.ly, Live.me, Flipgram, so it’s good to take a grasp of it. Long story short, it’s mostly focused on the short videos market. But as one of rising Chinese tech giants, it has set foot in several blooming areas, like short-videos, social apps, content creation and curation platforms. You may want to consider Toutiao App for your content marketing and advertising. Here’s a study case of the app.
Internet & Games & Tech
Last month, EA was hit by a huge backlash from its fans. They accused the company of incorporating “pay-to-win” tactic into the new "Star Wars: Frontline 2" game. EA publicly apologized for so-called misunderstanding of their audience and withdrew the option. However, EA’s game is being now investigated worldwide for the gambling issue. In China the regulations are not that strict though and there are ways to avoid sanctions. It’s due to the fact that the gaming industry in China is booming right now and the government does not particularly want to stop it.- Read more (Chinese)
Baidu’s been testing out a new service allowing foreign companies to check whether their websites are optimized to go behind Chinese Great Firewall. It will address problems ranging from failure to display content properly, slow downloads, improper displayed fonts and difficulties in showing messages from social media sites. The service will be first launched in Japan. It is quite pricey though, would you pay over $3,000 for that kind of service? - Read more (English)
At the end of October 91% of the entire China mobile market were occupied by five companies: Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple, Vivo and OPPO. It’s a 20% raise compared to the last year. However, the sales of iPhone X in China significantly declined. Huawei began to occupy the high-end market, Vivo and OPPO mostly rely on offline mobile stores in villages and towns, and Xiaomi keep introducing new models and combining online and offline sales. - Read more (Chinese)
Keeping track of the mobile market share helps us decide which software should we focus a marketing strategy on. For example, as VIVO is getting popular, we would pay more attention to the apps build in its original software.
In some of Beijing’s districts a new rule has come into force. It bans using a virtual address when applying for a business license for a new company. It mostly hits startups based in co-working spaces. As there are more and more of them every year, the government decided to sort out the discrepancies in a company’s registered address and working address. - Read more (English)
A cartoon guide of nuclear attack survival guide got viral this week. It was published by Jilin newspaper, a state-run paper in Jilin province, near the border with North Korea. The guide shows readers some ways to dispel radioactive contamination. Although the article didn’t mention any possible attacks, it provided historical context of Hiroshima’s nuclear bomb, so a fear of a nuclear war has escalated among netizens. - Read more (English)