China Marketing Weekly: The Reason Chocolate Manufacturers Struggle in China

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 10:00



Are you a chocolate lover? I am! I think I could be even called an addict, and that’s probably why I cannot understand that Chinese people choose meat and spicy tofu over sweets. I mean, hey, chocolate is life! ;-) I think chocolate manufacturers had a similar attitude as me when they eagerly entered China’s market - and they didn’t expect anything but enthusiasm. Well, scroll down to read how it turned out.

Our social team summed up major updates to WeChat official accounts (it’s called a Brand Zone) and Moments ads' prices.

We also talk about the growing male beauty industry and high-speed trains that become a playground for advertisers.

Dig in!



WeChat official account platform launches “Brand Search” to allow users to access services easily and help merchants reach users at the same time. The merchants will now be able to create a “brand zone” and a mini-homepage. It’s just a standardized mini-program including brand introduction, main products, services, contact methods and other modules. The brand zone feature will be available for verified official account with a trademark protection. - Read more (Chinese)

As the new feature makes it easier for WeChat users to search and enter brand’s account, the brand who set up the brand zone can expect higher traffic. It’s also a good way for small brands to gain new followers, and to protect users from fraud accounts.

- Nara


WeChat Moments ads free of charge for merchants and restaurateurs whose offline sales paid via WeChat Pay exceed 100 RMB per month. Additionally, new WeChat Pay members can also enjoy discounts on Moments ads. - Read more (Chinese)
- Cherry



The male beauty industry in China is flourishing. Following trends coming from Korea, more and more young Chinese men wear makeup. Male celebrities are now often seen being brand ambassadors for makeup and beauty products. but also become online beauty influencers. The male cosmetics market in China is soon to become the most lucrative in the world. - Read more (English)

- Sissi


Niangmao Mama grows into a social network for Chinese young parents, with 7 million people following the WeChat official account. Li Danyang, the owner of the company, is a young mama herself, and she refuses to take old-dated advice from her parents and in-laws. She aims at educating the young parents and providing high-quality baby care products. The company is also a good example of how to deal with the WeChat official account. - Read more (English)
- Sesia


Marketing Channels

China’s high-speed trains will be now a new advertising channel. Literally, as almost every single free space of the train may now be covered in ads, inside and outside of the train. The only “space” free of ads will be English in-train announcements. The price for “a package of five different kinds of advertising on the Beijing to Tianjin route will set you back ¥4.32 million for 1 year,” as the Nanjinger quotes. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria



Chocolate brands struggle to localize their products in China. They are the best example that not everything that works in Western countries will work in China. Some of the leading chocolate manufacturers spent millions on marketing in China, with very poor results. They made a mistake of assuming everyone loves chocolate and it’s relatively easy to market. They underestimated how different eating habits are here, and they didn’t engage in cross-cultural dialogue. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria


Luckin Coffee has collected another 200 mln dollars as a “war fund” to challenge Starbucks’s dominance in China. The company is already being called a Marketing Unicorn of Chinese coffee industry (read more about their aggressive marketing campaign). Jeffrey Towson, a business professor at Beijing University, said that “by offering a similar experience at a lower price, Luckin Coffee bring luxury to the low-end market. This approach may work for the company just as it worked for Xiaomi as it challenged Apple's iPhone.” - Read more (Chinese)
- Sesia



High school graduates in China pay more for “university counselling” than the total cost of their entire college education. The counsellors are supposed to assist young people in choosing their life path and institution to pursue it in. However, the “experts” are often not reliable and are described as “a waste of money” by students who invested in the service. - Read more (English)
- Shirley


US-China Trade War

China looks for new allies as the US released a list of goods that could soon face tariffs. Instead of hitting right back with their own tariffs, China decided to provide better market access to companies in Europe and Japan. The goal here is to secure China’s interest and stop the nonsense trade war with the US. - Read more (English)
- Wiktoria



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