January is all about summing up what happened last year and making resolutions for the new year. So, what were the most popular searches of 2017? Balding Millennials, Lu Han’s new girlfriend, the first “Made in China” passenger jet and the movie that made Chinese proud - “Wolf Warrior 2”. For the new year’s resolutions, Chinese people mostly go for 1) getting in shape, 2) travelling more and 3) making more money. What does it all mean for us? First, trends among Chinese people have changed a lot and they pay more attention to having a healthy lifestyle now. Second, if they want to earn more, they’re going to spend more.
How to catch their attention then? Apart from the safer options like Baidu Advertising or a WeChat Campaign, try getting to know other marketing channels that are popular in China. One of them is live-streaming. A good example of how to use it is below, in the Top News section. Also, we talk about it in our latest blog post here.
Ps. We will live-stream our China Marketing Training on Friday. Scan the QR code or follow us on social media to stay tuned (links at the end of the newsletter).
Last week we mentioned how popular quiz games have become on live-streaming platforms. This week we have clear proof that: 1) they can be used as a marketing channel as well, 2) Chinese companies react very fast.
During last week’s broadcast, one of the questions was sponsored by Meituan, a food delivery company. They asked “how long does it take for Meituan to deliver food?” (the answer is 30 min). According to what we read in the comments, the viewers were quite amazed and will definitely try it out to see if it's true. Meituan found a perfect way to catch viewers’ attention. It’s crucial in China to test new ways of doing marketing, be fast and original as the competition is fierce. Be careful with the content though. Huajiao, one of the live-streaming platforms, was censored for listing Taiwan and Hong Kong as independent countries in the game options. - Read more (Chinese)
Marks and Spencer retreated from Mainland China after 10 years of retailing presence. Following the closures of offline stores last year, the company just announced it will close its online shop on Tmall as well. It is due to “the complexity and cost of trading, together with the highly promotional online Chinese market”. - Read more (English)
Why did they fail? Well, there are many reasons, truth to be told. First, their Chinese name (玛莎 masha) sounds too ordinary and is commonly mistaken for other brands, like Meters/bonwe or Maserati. Also, they are not international enough to be recognised in China. Most of our team members never even heard of them. They didn’t pay enough attention to building brand awareness, not even mentioning trust (check Tait’s post how to do it here). Second, the brand is too British, products they sell (especially the food) are targeted for the British market, not the Chinese one. For example, the clothes’ sizes do not fit Chinese women, they are too big. Moreover, in the UK they’re known for high price, but also good quality and very flexible return policy. In China they’re just too expensive, and they don’t offer anything in return.
There are many factors that determine whether you succeed in Chinese market or not. Marks&Spencer failed just in too many fields.
“Love and Producer 恋与制作人”, a dating simulation game for mobile, has become a hit among Chinese woman. It has been downloaded 7 million times and got over 4 million daily users within a month. On January 13, which is a game character’s birthday, some women rented a gigantic digital billboard in Shenzhen to send wishes to their virtual boyfriend. - Read more (English)
How did it get so popular? Paid features of the game give women feeling of a real relationship. They get text messages, phone calls etc. The game is a sensation not only among single females though. The married ones seek for romance and thrill they cannot get from their husbands.
China Central Meteorological Station found a way to boost up the number of their Weibo followers. Last week they released a video which got over 16,000 comments and 80,000 shares. Its main thought is “China Central Meteorological Station accompanies you in your happy life”. It’s definitely enjoyable and funny, and helps build a very friendly image of the station among Weibo users. Also, it’s a good example that even weather forecast channel marketing can be very creative and can go viral within minutes on China’s social media. - Read more (Chinese)
Despite a rather cold welcome at the very beginning, WeChat mini-programs have become a popular tool among the users and an efficient marketing channel. Mini-programs are supposed to make it easier for brands to communicate with their WeChat followers. Also, they create many options for entertaining and interacting with the followers. By the end of 2017, 580 thousand mini-programs were launched and they were used by 170 million users. - Read more (English)
Wechat plans to launch an independent app for WeChat Official Accounts. Although WeChat is mostly designed for mobiles, Official Account management has been PC-based. Moving it to the separate app will make it more convenient, especially for daily use, like publishing short posts, for example.
Wechat will also bring back its in-app tipping feature for iOS versions, so that the readers are able to support their favourite authors. - Read more (English)
Some of the WeChat Official Accounts were blocked in the last couple of weeks. Most of them got accused of publishing pornography which is illegal in China. Some of them turned out to be medicine-related, so the accounts were recovered. As WeChat uses keywords to monitor the published content, make sure you are very careful what’s posted on the official account. The regulations were updated last year and are more strict than before. - Read more (Chinese)
China’s plan is to become the world's leading center for artificial intelligence innovation by 2030. So far they have been investing more time and effort in AI research than the US. Apart from industries we kinda even expect to see robots in, like manufacturing, Chinese researchers have been working on the idea of “smart population”. Some of the early stage projects include technology helping couples get pregnant or so-called “sex-robots” that are able to observe and learn from people’s behaviour. Researchers predict in the future robots will be able to reproduce with humans and “give birth” through 3D printing. Crazy, isn’t it? - Read more (Chinese)
Jinan in Shandong province is the first city to use Alipay in public buses. Paying for the ticket would now only require scanning a code in one of 5,000 buses. In order to use the service, users must update their Alipay app and sign up for Ant Credit Pay. In many other cities, Alipay and WeChat have launched some payment options, like topping up public transportation card with an app. Shanghai, for example, just announced that the Shanghai Metro app could be bound to Alipay starting this month. - Read more (Chinese)
China’s netizens are all over the personal data collection right now. Last week we talked about how angry they got at Alipay and WeChat for abusing people’s trust. So the Chinese government finally decided to look more into it. But as they say, the policies of companies will be closely watched, no one mentioned any penalties. - Read more (English)