China Marketing Weekly: Why Don't We See Chinese Culture Abroad?
Have you heard about the Chinese netizen panic attack after Canada legalised marijuana? They reacted as if the Canadian prime minister stuffed their mouth with pot… ;-)
This week, we talk about Double Eleven - and we will talk about it more in the coming weeks, as it is China’s biggest e-commerce festival.
What’s more? For social media, we talk about the value of popular WeChat accounts and Weibo creating a new app for younger users.
On the Blog
I love connecting with Chinese culture, and other cultures from around the world too. That's why I ended up going to China, marrying a Chinese woman and starting a Chinese business.
I also put my kids in Chinese-English bilingual school. They do learn Chinese in class. But on the playground, they aren't into a single Chinese thing. In fact, they're mostly into Japanese things - videogames, cartoons, Pokémon. So much so that Pokémon cards were banned at school.
Why is it that Japan did so well with exporting its culture, but China has not? Lu-Hai explores that on our blog this week.
‘Who on earth adds marijuana to maple syrup?’ Some Chinese consumers are getting nervous about the legalization of marijuana in Canada (read more in English.) But I think it would be wrong to read this type of article and think that Chinese tourists aren’t a valid target market for this budding industry.
I’ve been bouncing the idea off Chinese friends and family: when the topic of drinking came up at family dinner, I explained weed to my Chinese auntie:
Me: People drink in Canada too, but a lot of them smoke marijuana instead.
Them: Oh? Interesting. Well, I don’t smoke weed.
Me: OK. It’s a traditional herbal medicine used for thousands years.
Them: Oh, really?
Me: Yes, and it's fun too. AND they’re legalizing it in Canada.
Them: "Well, maybe I should try then!"
I’ve tried little scripts like this a bunch of times, and it turns out that many of Chinese people are down to blaze!
Two years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Chinese pot tourism niche, but for now it’s open to the first movers. It would, however, be very challenging to promote within mainland China.
Alibaba kicked off Double Eleven shopping festival, marking its ten year anniversary. Last year, the Gross Merchandise Value of the festival reached 24.3 billion USD. This year, 180k brands from China and all over the world will take part in the festival engaging consumers in various games and activities, or just offering coupons. The festival is also extending to Alibaba’s overseas platforms: Lazada and Aliexpress. The company will also engage offline stores and other members of the Alibaba family, like Hema Supermarkets and the Ele.me food delivery app. The goal is to showcase the innovative idea of New Retail. - Read more (English)
Double Eleven is not only about Alibaba anymore. It’s an shopping spree all the e-commerce platforms and offline stores wait for, and they plan crazy ways to engage their customers. For some consumers, the sales events went way too far and are not easy to follow anymore. Or they don’t think 5-10% discounts are worth taking part in the madness - they prefer looking for discounts during Chinese New Year promotions. The majority of people go crazy though. There are two king of shoppers:
1) they will take advantage of pre-sales and won’t risk the desired goods to be sold out before they have a chance to take grasp of them, so they buy buy buy;
2) the risk takers: they will browse all the offers, look for the best discounts and wait til the last moment to make a purchase - this way they can get the best price.
Even luxury brands need to seek new sales chances in China. Hermès just launched its first-ever e-commerce website (read more in English) while Gucci became one of the first brands to open a Suning Outlet store. The brand was once reluctant to sell on Chinese e-commerce platforms because of counterfeit goods. The luxury good market in China accounted for 22 million USD in 2017, but only 9% of it is sold through e-commerce. But Chinese online marketing can no longer be overlooked. - Read more (Chinese)
What’s the worth of self-media? The combined value of the top hundred WeChat official accounts is over 1.3 million USD. With 8 mln fans in total, the value of one fan is 0.16 USD.
The most popular WeChat accounts earn money from brands who advertise their products through influencers, but many influencers decide to monetize their account simply by selling their accounts and the fans to a brand or person who will change the name of the account and even the entire profile’s content. Dedicated followers are difficult to gain, and that kind of behaviour is why it’s getting harder - and why people lose faith in the KOLs. It’s also a reason for the skyrocketing prices of influencer marketing. - Read more (Chinese)
Weibo bans users under 14 years old from the platform. A new better-supervised app for children and younger teenagers is expected to be launched soon. According to the vice president of the company, Sina Weibo wants to take more “social responsibility” and the content posted on the new app will face more requirements. - Read more (Chinese)
Google’s CEO claims its censored search engine could serve over "99% of queries” in China, following criticism from employees and human rights advocates. Previously, the company denied they wanted to come back to Mainland. Now, Sundar Pichai said they were exploring the plan and haven’t committed to anything just yet. - Read more (English or Chinese)
Read our blog post on how Google’s comeback could affect marketing in China here.
Traditional search ads market loses to news feed and e-commerce ads. E-commerce ads took a share of 31.8% of total ad market in China (#1), but the news feed ads jumped up over 90% compared to 2017 and are expected to reach over 35% of the overall online advertising market. - Read more in English (paywall)
“News feed ads” refer to the ads displayed in apps like Today’s Headlines (今日头条) or Baidu Xinxiliu (百度信息流). They can be used as a very effective way of re-marketing in China. Especially if Baidu Xinxiliu ads are combined with traditional search engine marketing.
Chinese Internet Users
Chinese mobile market is growing constantly affecting many industries. The number of mobile devices used in China reached 1.3 billion as of the second quarter of 2018, males accounting for 58% of the users. Chinese users have around 44 apps installed on their phones and spend 3.2 hours a day using them - social media and short-video apps taking the top places among their interests (read more in Chinese). The number of users playing mobile games exceeded 500 million (read more in Chinese).