China Marketing Weekly: How Bullet Messenger Might Affect China Marketing
This week, we’ll talk a lot about Chinese social media. Our focus is on Bullet Messaging (know it? Some say it’s the next WeChat!) We also discuss why Chinese celebrities are quitting Weibo and how Michael Kors promoted his New York Fashion Week event on WeChat.
Also, scroll down to read why Chinese netizens laughed the new iPhone down and how China’s poems will become immortalized in space.
On The Blog
This week, we talk about Bullet Messaging - the app that reportedly threatens WeChat’s prominence. It’s become the most downloaded app in China in just two weeks. But does it stand a chance and is it useful for Chinese marketing? - Read more
We write our blog content based on reader questions. But despite 2K high-quality readers, not a whole lot of people send requests. So if you want to learn more about anything, let us know, we’re likely to write it up for you.
Taobao’s standalone short-video app is finally available online. It’s called 鹿刻 (luke) - a homonym for “look”. Taobao announced the app months ago following Douyin’s short-video hype. Luke’s primary advantage over competition is it boosts the number of possibilities for brands with a Taobao store. The video links viewers right to the product! - Read more (English / Chinese)
Tmall teams up with New York Fashion Week to promote Chinese brands. A special platform called Tmall China Day helps promote Western brands by broadcasting NYFW’s shows. But its main goal is to improve the presence of Chinese brands overseas. - Watch a video or read more (in Chinese)
Weibo has just launched a new app (超话社区 App). It groups Weibo’s content by topics, directly connecting users to topics that interest them. An algorithm allows the app to learn user habits and provide content better tailored to the consumer. - Read more (Chinese)
How is it compared with Weibo? The two apps are synced, and the new app is an extension to the original app. The target audience are teenagers. It makes it much easier to follow a chosen topic - mostly online celebrities.
Celebrities quit Chinese social media as fans become bullies. Chinese actors playing villains in popular TV shows often have to take a bitter pill from their shows’ fans who blame them for their character’s behaviour. As Chinese netizens suffer more from God syndrome and lose boundaries for passing judgement on others, many actors have decided to stop posting on Weibo, Facebook, etc. - Read more (Chinese)
The trend is changing. Before, Chinese celebrities were like gods - adored and untouchable. Now, Chinese netizens don’t hesitate to pour sewage, celebrity or not.
Many brands already learnt their lesson - social media posts have to be carefully thought out as it’s like walking on a minefield of sensibilities.
Thanks to a new app, videos can now be played directly in users’ WeChat Moments. Previously, video links redirected users to other platforms but now 10-second videos shot with WeVideo (微视) are played directly (source in Chinese). It will smooth the process of sharing short videos on WeChat. However, it doesn’t work with short videos coming from apps such as Douyin, Kuaishou etc. - Read more (Chinese)
Western Brands in China
Coca-Cola acquires Costa - and it may strengthen the coffee brand’s position in China. In the recent months, two of the strongest players on the Chinese market were Luckin Coffee and Starbucks. But Coca-Cola is known as a Western brand that understands the Chinese market well and holds strong footing, starting with its perfect Chinese name (可口可乐). Just as Starbucks stepped up its efforts in China, it may be time for Costa to do the same with new leadership. - Read More (Chinese)
Michael Kors targets Chinese customers during the New York Fashion Week. The brand organised a meet-up with Chinese actress, Yang Mi, the brand’s global ambassador. Customers who purchased the special Whitney bag designed for Chinese Valentine’s Day were able to have some extra time with the idol. The event was promoted via social media towards the Chinese visiting NY. - Read more (English)
Chinese consumers are not impressed with the new dual-SIM iPhone. Social media was flooded with a heated discussion over the device’s price, which is more than most monthly Chinese salaries. Some summed it up: “I couldn’t afford it even if I sold my kidneys.” Apple’s been losing market share to growing Chinese brands that improve every year. - Read more (English)
However, one brand took advantage of Apple’s failure; Durex didn’t miss the chance and realised an addition of a dual-card thing that Chinese can afford - showing a picture of men’s trousers and two condoms (imitating a smartphone and two SIM cards). If anyone’s mastered timing and viral marketing in China it’s Durex.
Hello Bike upgrades to Hello Travel - a multipurpose platform. The company so far focused on renting shared bikes will now cover services such as tourism, logistics, insurance, finance and real estate. A latecomer to the market, Hello Bike is a part of Alibaba’s ecosystem - where its financing comes from. - Read more (Chinese)
Chinese poetry goes to space. WeChat along with Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology rolled out a mini-program allowing users to record their reading of Chinese poems. 50k of the submitted recordings will be sent into space on the Long March 4B rocket. It’s a way to exhibit Chinese culture and “keep the romance alive”. - Read more (Chinese)
There’s a trend for some Chinese websites to have a more Western-looking design. The new designs are easier-to-navigate and less busy. Here’s a good example for an SaaS product - you can see their new site here and their old site here. I think there’s one important Chinese characteristic that is intact though - the contact icons on the right side.