China Marketing Weekly: China's Trending Apps And More

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 15:43


This time we talk, among others, about e-commerce trends, why Chinese customers lose interest in Apple, and marketing channels in China you might not have heard about: Biyao, Pinduoduo and podcast platforms like Lizhi or Koala.

Also, we’ve been busy preparing another live-streaming training. Jessie, our SEM manager, will introduce Baidu Ads. Tune in on Friday morning, 10:30 China time. And, as you asked in the survey, we will post the trainings with English subtitles soon! For those who don’t speak Chinese - how about you take a look at a guide we published on our blog in the meantime.

As for the podcast platforms - we got asked about them quite a lot, so Shane decided to write a post on the topic. It may be particularly useful for people in the education industry, as many Chinese people use it for learning languages, for example. But if you’re not involved in education, we recommend you have a look anyway. As China’s influencers appear on the podcast platforms as well, there are many ways you could use it for your business.

Top News
WeChat Pay now allows its users to integrate their wallets with overseas credit cards. To date, only MasterCard, Visa, and JCB are accepted, but it’s still a great news, especially for international WeChat users. - Read more (English)
Sina Weibo has suspended the 'top trending' list on their website. It's due to a warning they got from the Cyberspace Administration, China’s central Internet regulator. Weibo decided to look closer at celebrities and companies that buy their way to the top trending list. The company published a list of 38 celebrity names, topics, and hashtags that allegedly used an illegal way to become a 'hot topic'. They're also banned from the list for the following months. Weibo wants the trending lists to reflect the actual topics gaining most attention amongst netizens. - Read more (English)
Recently, Today’s Headline (Jinri Toutiao) and BuzzFeed reached a licensing agreement according to which channels like Tasty's, Goodful, Nifty and Bring Me will be authorized to publish content on The cooperation will cover not only English-language videos, but also Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish ones. So, the Buzzfeed content will also be released within Toutiao' apps in Japan, America and Europe. - Read more (Chinese)
Toutiao started its international development in 2015. Its video platforms, Douyin and Huoshan, were launched overseas in 2017. I believe that we’ll see all of the TouTiao’s products abroad very soon, as well as other "made in China" ideas.
E-commerce & Payments
There’s a new “addictive” app on China’s e-commerce market. It’s called Pinduoduo and was listed as a #2 in Dec 2017, right after Taobao. It focuses on a group buying. How it works? If you can find a friend who wants to buy the same things as you do - you both get a discount. If people you recommended the app to download it - you get something for free. If your friends help you “bargain” - you get a discount. The app relies on the advertisement they get from its users’ shares, and that is exactly how it got viral. There are many other ways to lower the price of desired goods too. - Read more (English)
Chinese New Year is coming closer, so Tmall promoted a special New Year’s sale. During the event, Tmall offered cross-merchant discounts, so it didn’t matter where users made purchases as long as they spent a specified amount of money. Tmall probably expected Chinese customers to follow their buying instinct and help them repeat Singles’ Day’s success. But Chinese New Year is more about atmosphere, that’s one thing. And another is that we don’t exchange any gifts, just red envelopes, so our purchases are mostly focused on food and beverages and we prefer to make them offline.
Taobao just started exploring a new area - renting goods. But instead of becoming a lending party itself, the app has built a lending platform encouraging small stores to join in and grow stronger. It relies on Alibaba’s Zhima Credit and offers users discounts which depend on their credit score. The platform offers luxury goods, devices like phones or cameras and even a yacht, for example. Due to comprehensive borrow-return regulations, they guarantee safety for the transactions.
Seems like we can’t stop talking about the live quiz games. Following the success of Chongdingdahui, many live-streaming platforms (like Toutiao or Yingke) launched their own live games based on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire”. For the past few weeks, it’s been a great way to draw new viewers to the platforms - read more (English). Even my favourite shopping website, Biyao, launched its own version of the game. It allowed users to get an extra chance if they invited friends to download the app.
Just a quick word on Biyao - it’s a C2M (customer to manufacturer) platform that helps to cut on inventory and intermediaries costs. The products are made only when there is demand for them. It helps luxury brands to directly access their customers.
Young Chinese people spend most of their time stick to their mobile phones. When it comes to making purchase decisions they highly rely on what they see on the Internet, especially on social platforms like WeChat. So, co-working with KOLs is one of the best ways to get their attention and encourage them to buy. Here’s, for example, a list of a few of the most popular beauty influencers in China. However, sometimes it’s better to look for those who already have their dedicated fans, but are still relatively authentic. viral. There are many other ways to lower the price of desired goods too.
The Dutch University of Groningen just withdrew from its plan to establish a campus in China. They had already invested a vast amount of money in the cooperation with the China Agricultural University in Beijing when the University Council voted against the project. They made the decision due to concerns over the academic freedom and quality of education in China. - Read more (English)



Didi is pushing forward the AI race. They just announced the establishment of AI Labs (Artificial Intelligence Laboratory). The goal is to step up with AI research, to attract top research talents, and to accelerate the development of the global intelligent transportation technology. Didi will work with local authorities to develop products like smart traffic lights, monitoring systems, and optimizing public transportation. - Read more (English)
Apple has been losing market shares to Asian rivals in China. They even decided to withdraw iPhone X as Chinese consumers were not interested in buying it. Apple is no longer considered as a symbol of luxury, hence the loss of interest. It surely needs to turn the creative and innovation process up in order to stay in the market as Chinese customers expect more than the company which is merely living off its worldwide fame. - Read more (English)
As the Hong Kong-Macau bridge is stated to be officially open in Q2 of 2018, China is moving forward with its plan to create the Greater Bay Metropolitan Area. Integrating Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong Province will let create an economic giant. Each of the cities has its own strengths. Implementing appropriate policies will allow a free flow of people, goods and capital in the area. - Read more (English)

Och, and just before you go, here's a quote from the Forum in Davos that I particularly like. We keep saying "China is different" and so are Chinese companies. You want to keep up with China’s market and customers? Follow their lead.




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