China Marketing Weekly: They Photoshopped Us Into Barbie Dolls!
This week, read about Pinduoduo, a social shopping app that became a hit among Chinese consumers. What else? Along with the latest updates, WeChat brings back its tipping feature and disables link sharing.
Last week, both Chinese and Western media were all about Fan Bingbing whose 70-million-yuan contract just leaked online.
On our blog, we share a story of how China surprised us once again. You’d think years of experience never fail, right? Well, we wanted to update our team’s pictures on the website, and we ended up with a bunch of photos of Barbie dolls. At least, we learnt a lesson on how different are the expectations Western and Chinese people have.
Check the post here to learn more about what is the perception of a perfect picture in China, and how to use it for your China marketing.
Tait also interviewed Remy Wong on the differences between Baidu and 360 Search. Baidu is certainly more recognized among foreign marketers, but don’t make a mistake of underestimating other search engines in China. Read more here.
One more thing, before you dig in! We want to make sure our readers are aware of multitude of marketing channels that can be used in China. For social media, WeChat and Weibo are always safe options, but why not to try something new? We already talked about live-streaming and podcast platforms (check the posts here). We also have a Douyin marketing post on the way. What other platforms would you like to learn about? Reply to this e-mail and let us know.
Trending on Social Media
Last week, the contract of Fan Bing Bing - the highest-earning celebrity in China - leaked online. A TV presenter and producer, Cui Yongyuan, revealed she earned 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) for a four-day shoot. Cui also listed other demands the celebrity made, like an access to two luxury cars, her own voice artist, and a daily food allowance of 1,500 yuan. Cui’s social media post was viewed 38 million times before it was removed on Sunday. It attracted a lot of social media attention as Fan Bing Bing is not considered to be a good actress. Moreover, last year the government limited the stars' salaries - Fan's contract is now laughing at the China Alliance of Radio Film and Television's face.
Also on Sunday, The State Administration of Taxation announced they would examine the contract under the tax evasion allegation. Why? Because there were, in fact, two contracts that Cui Yongyuan published. One for 10 million yuan - the public one, and one not mentioning Fan's name for another 50 million RMB. - Read more (English)
Trending: closet-sharing. Just as shared bikes and cars were not enough, the latest trend among 22 to 35-year-old women is sharing clothes. 共享衣橱 (Gongxiang Yichu) allows its users to rent luxury pieces for a reasonable price. - Watch a video here (in Chinese)
The app became popular because of two main reasons: 1) young women in China love high-fashion and are afraid to try new trends; 2) many luxury clothes are only worn a few times. One of the users says the app’s membership is not even half of what she used to spend on clothes every month. It also allows women with lower income to get a bit of luxury.
Meipai is accused of “destroying the network’s ecology and affecting the physical and mental health of young people by broadcasting unhealthy information”. Or at least that’s what Cyberspace Administration of China announced in the letter published on their official website. The app’s CEO apologized in public and has now 30 days to update app’s content to meet all the regulations. - Read more (Chinese)
Netizens mocked the Meipai’s CEO online saying he had a very strong instinct of self-preservation. On the other hand, many other short-video platforms have been permanently closed lately. The main player on the short-video market - Douyin - has already been blocked a few times this year.
Kuaishou just acquired AcFun video platform. Just FYI, Kuaishou is the biggest competitor of Douyin, the world’s most downloaded video app. In China, there’s a saying that North belongs to Kuaishou, and South to Douyin. - Read more in Chinese or English
It seems like China’s become a country of duopolies. It’s Alibaba and Tencent, Mobike and Ofo, Kuaishou and Douyin. In almost every field, two companies grow stronger waiting the smaller competitors to bankrupt or buying them out.
Tipping content authors comes back to WeChat official accounts. The feature was blocked in 2017 as Apple requested a 30% share. Now is back both on Android and iOS. Readers can now show how much they “like the author” by sending them a tip. - Read more in Chinese or English
Links are not allowed to be shared on WeChat Moments anymore. Following the latest update, external links and snippets can no longer be shared. In response, Taobao now generates a picture with a built-in QR code to share on WeChat and QQ. - Read more (Chinese)
Chinese graduates in the U.S. face new visa restrictions. The validity of the visas will be shortened, and it will affect not only freshly graduated students, but also researchers and managers working in high-tech fields such as aviation and robotics. First, it will drive away well-educated young people who intended to stay in the country. In the longer term, it may affect the number of Chinese student coming to study in the U.S. - Read more (English)
Pinduoduo ranks first among the most popular e-commerce apps in China. It gained over 300 mln users in less than three years, exceeding JD.com’s monthly gross merchandise volume. However, it relies on a different model, with its main feature being “social shopping”. Read more on how the app got so popular in such a short time here (in English).
JD.com’s “618” grows into another national shopping festival. June 18 symbolizes the day Jing Dong was established, but now it’s also called “Mid-Year Shopping Festival”. It still can’t be compared to Double Eleven madness, but “618” promotions are now available on most of the shopping platforms and in offline stores. It’s yet another reason for brands to boost their creativity and attract customers’ attention. - Read more (Chinese)
Alibaba runs a class to teach elderly people how to use Taobao. In February, the company launched a simplified version of the app that can also be connected to another account - a featured called “Family account”. The aim of the class is to learn more about elderly users’ experience and make it even smoother. - Read more (English)
See you next week!