China Marketing Weekly: The Golden Week Says Much About Chinese Consumers And Their Lifestyles
We’re back after the holiday with a sum-up of Golden Week. The numbers doubled compared to last year - even though the Chinese economy slows, consumption habits obviously grow stronger.
What else this week? China legalizes re-education camps in Xinjiang, WeChat makes things difficult for new brands, most e-commerce businesses fail to survive a year in China, and more.
Golden Week Sumup
Twenty one million WeChat users failed to take more than 100 steps daily during Golden Week, 56% of them being Millennials. At the same time, the number of transactions for food delivery apps rocketed, Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces taking the cake! - Read more in Chinese or in English
But before we call Chinese Millennials couch potatoes, as most platforms did, let’s mention this data was retrieved from one app - WeChat Werun. Alipay hasn’t released any related data from its popular fitness app - which rewards users red packets for daily activity, popularizing use. Also, having seen photos from popular tourist destinations in China, I was more than happy to spend the holiday at home!
The Chinese made 1.6 trillion CNY (231 billion USD) worth of banking transactions during Golden Week, a 30% increase compared to last year. They spent it on travel, gatherings, and shopping. - Read more (Chinese)
Mobile payment giants - Alipay and WeChat Pay - rolled out new features just before the holiday allowing users to apply for a tax refund via apps, introducing preferential exchange rates and expanding spots abroad that can accept Chinese mobile payment. They also offered a chance to win a refund for the purchased products. - Read more (Chinese)
To celebrate Golden Week and its new “Alipay Global” feature, Alipay announced a lottery on Weibo which engaged many domestic and overseas brands. Users that shared the post and used Alipay to pay in any of the participating stores (mostly abroad) were able to win a variety of prizes. There was also one lucky winner (“a Koi”)- a girl from Tianjin, who won a special Alipay card allowing her to get anything from featured merchants for free. Her Weibo account also gained 800k fans instantly.
The Chinese have become nomads and seek “home” outside of where they live. Due to frequently changing residence and the biggest rural-to-urban migration in human history, the Chinese often don’t consider their house their “home”. They look for it elsewhere: in social communities (offline and/or online). Some of them still claim “home” is “where (grand)mother cooks”. It certainly shows two things: how Chinese life moved to digital reality and that many people don’t have a sense of belonging resulting in loneliness. - Read more (English)
Parenting platforms have become a new playground for foreign brands to reach Chinese consumers. Lamabang and Babytree have gathered a follower base of 50 and 200 million users respectively. The platforms help target very specific audiences in an atmosphere considered safe and professional by users. - Read more (English)
Only 16% of official WeChat e-commerce accounts can survive 2 years. Thanks to WeChat mini-program features, it’s never been easier to open an e-commerce business and promote it online. However, as new content and stores flood Chinese platforms every hour, it’s survival of the fittest. Facing fierce competition and e-commerce giants like JD.com or Taobao, over 40% of small stores both on and offline can’t survive a year. - Read more (Chinese)
Pinduoduo rolls out official brand stores to fight counterfeit goods. Pinduoduo is known for group budget shopping and tons of fake products. As the platform has been flooded with bad reviews from users who purchased fake products, it now promotes in-app official stores (such as Gome and Xiaomi) to make sure that customers with low budgets can purchase legitimate products at a good price. - Read more (Chinese)
The latest WeChat update makes it difficult for new accounts to break through. The platform will soon roll out a “Frequent Read” feature which favours popular accounts and posts over newer ones. WeChat is clearly trying to catch up on which foreign platforms have worked for a while now. - Read more (English)
Regulations and Censorship
China just legalised use of re-education camps in Xinjiang. The revised law takes effect immediately allowing the Chinese government to detain thousands of Muslims and Uyghurs and subject them to enforced political re-education. Train travel to the region is also reported to be suspended indefinitely. Before, the government had denied the existence of the camps. - Read more (English)
Douyu live-streaming app disappeared from Android app stores in China. It’s one of the steps taken by Ministry of Education in China to fight myopia among young adults and children. They aim at implementing new regulations to control the number of online games. - Read more (Chinese)
The number of children and teens living in online reality is frightening in China, with many parents deciding to send their kids to rehab-like centers. Efforts taken by the government are surely necessary, but the question is if they will use the opportunity to simultaneously restrict content.
WeChat expands Mainland services for Hong Kong users; they can now use WeChat Pay to purchase train tickets, pay for food and taxis and other similar services from Mainland China. The purchase will be automatically converted and withdrawn from their wallet or bank card in HKD. - Read more (Chinese)
Tencent just invested in Voyager Innovations, a major digital and financial service provider in the Philippines. Southeast Asian countries have become an important market for Chinese e-commerce giants - and Tencent doesn’t want to miss out. The Philippines is also a popular holiday destination for Chinese tourists. - Read more (Chinese)