China Marketing Weekly: Are You Aware Of How Much Money You Really Make In China?
This week we talk about Weibo banning homosexual content, Peppa Pig becoming a celebrity and a new trend in China - reading.
Starting this week we start a new section of our newsletter. As many people mentioned in our survey (at the bottom), you’d like to read more about the on-the-ground China marketing experience. And we’re more than glad to share! We will answer the questions we get from our clients and subscribers. Also, we encourage you to ask questions! And if you already have China marketing experience on your own, reach out to us! We will write a blog post covering your story.
On our blog, we share the latest report on unmanned retail in China. It’s based on WeChat Pay data and a research by China Department Stores Commercial Association.
Companies often greatly underestimate the sales that they are already making to China. In a project I looked at earlier this week, I saw over a million dollars of revenue that they weren’t aware of. These are perhaps the easiest two things to do to find those Chinese dollars already being spent on your website:
Create a Google Analytics segment that includes both uses from within greater China and users that have their browser language set to Chinese. Here’s a segment link.
Pay attention to how much ‘direct’ traffic is from China. ‘Direct’ is basically traffic that Google Analytics doesn’t know the source of. In this case, there was more than double the direct traffic from China than from non-Chinese users.
LGBT community speaks up after Weibo announced a ban on homosexual content. Right after that, “同志之声 The LGBTQ Voice” posted they had to suspend their account. It’s the first LGBTQ-related self-publishing-media with 230,000 followers (last Friday). In response, Chinese netizens raised their voice and hashtags like “I am Gay” (#我是同性恋#) or “I Am Illegal” (#我违法#) heated up Chinese social platforms. Also, a video of people in Chengdu offering hugs to strangers got over 26 million views. The ban was soon lifted, but many netizens said they were adults and they could decide on their own what they wanted to see on the Internet.
Trending On Social Media
Peppa Pig becomes a huge hit in China by chance. Regardless of the brand’s marketing efforts, the piggy got viral on social media in China. It all started with a mom laughing on WeChat Moments that her daughter behaved like the piggy herself. It caught a lot of attention as many people didn’t know who the character was. Right now, everyone goes crazy about Peppa Pig emoticons and a Peppa Pig video challenge. The challenge requires netizens to get a temporary Peppa Pig tattoo and record a video. The company already released a new series of T-shirts and watches following the piggy boom. - Read more (Chinese)
Reading is trending on Weibo. Guangxi Normal University Publishing House is organising a ‘Reading Hour’ event to encourage people to put their phones off for a while and pay more attention to books. In 3 days, they got over 8 thousand signups. Just as most of Chinese are addicted to their phones, there’s a growing group of people who look for a better quality of life and take interest in culture and offline activities. - Read more (Chinese)
Apps In China
WeChat allows some of the merchants to publish free-of-charge ads on WeChat Moments. It’s narrowed to a few industries: food, beauty products, clothes and offline stores. Also, there are other requirements, like, of course using WeChat Pay. - Read more (Chinese)
NetEase Cloud’s, a Chinese Spotify, users outraged with new in-app ads. The company just added ads to user-generated content. An ad will be played at the beginning of user’s playlist. They also added some in-app ad banners that direct users straight to e-commerce websites. As their users are mostly young people from the first- and second-tier cities who value the quality of service, the company received a huge backlash. Some of the users say that they got so used to social media ads that they don’t care anymore. But many people claimed to have deleted the app. - Read more (Chinese)
At the same time, Asia is a weak spot for Spotify app itself. Users often use shady ways to get a free premium account, they are not willing to pay for an account. Spotify is also not able to compete with its Chinese competitors, even though they introduce a localized song base. Besides, contrary to Spotify, Chinese apps do not rely on mobile data usage. - Read more (English)
Zhihui launches a book club platform. The service focuses on audiobooks and lets its members access over 600 25-minute files so far. To gain social media attention, the platform engaged some of the most popular celebrities to read the books. They also offer a 7-day full refund policy. - Read more (Chinese)
Paid subscriptions and memberships are getting more and more popular in China. It started with Netflix-like video platforms, but now consumers are willing to pay for knowledge as well. It’s a good way to get higher-quality traffic.
The Party's Two Cents' Worth
Foreign companies are requested to give the party a greater say in their operations. In the last few months, the Communist Party of China not only increased their influence on Chinese netizens’ everyday life, but also intensified their supervision over foreign companies. The companies are often asked to share sensitive information, like technology, and let the party’s officials take part in decision-making. The officials claim foreign do not truly understand China. - Read more (English)
At the same time, the party also sends Chinese teachers to universities all over the world to set up the party cells to strengthen “ideological guidance”. - Read more (English)
Bytedance forced to pull apps from Apple and Android app stores. In just one week, the Chinese company had to shut down two of its most popular apps, Toutiao (a news app) and Neihan Duanzi (an equivalent of 9gag). Similar apps were also taken down. At the same time, another Bytedance app - Douyin - got it live-streaming feature blocked. The app’s been one of the most catchy apps in China lately, notorious for creating Internet celebrities.
It’s because the published content did not correspond with “socialist core values”. - Read more (English / Chinese)
JD.com just signed a deal with Vanguard, one of China’s biggest supermarket chains. It covers an integration of online and offline stores and services. Thanks to the deal, JD.com strengthens its position as Alibaba’s biggest competitor in the retail industry (read more in Chinese). Alibaba and JD.com keep developing their services and have created a kind of e-commerce duopoly on the Chinese market. It should not affect smaller platforms though, they play in a different league. But it surely speeds up the development of the retailing arena even more.
See you next week! :-)