When I talk to my friends back home about daily life in China, they often grow wide-eyed; experiences I’ve grown used to make them visualize China as some mystical land. I’m not implying the West is lagging behind (okay, maybe a bit), but there are definitely technological differences. “Wiki, what do you mean you can’t Google it?”, “You paid with WeChat? But isn’t that, like… for messaging?”
My point is: I’ve acclimated to China. I really have. Mobile payments? Can’t live without them! On one app, I can order a ride, food, plumber, and train or even movie tickets. However, today a headline made me momentarily reflect. Chinese netizens are AMUSED by the fact that a new banknote was released. Who needs banknotes anymore? I mean, I recently wanted to get rid of some coins and a street vendor asked me to pay with Alipay cause he didn’t want them either. So, is it me or are we living in a sci-fi here?
We do talk about payments more this week, but what else is there waiting for you as you scroll down? Read more on why customer service is crucial for your business in China and how consumers from Gen X, Y, and Z are different from each other. Also, do you think Chinese consumers are too exhausted post Double Eleven to indulge in Black Friday?
China issues new banknotes - but netizens wonder who will ever use them. The People’s Bank of China premiered 50-yuan banknotes to commemorate renminbi's 70th anniversary. The trouble is... cash is a very uncommon payment China- especially in bigger cities. The hashtag “I haven’t used cash in a long time” has been viewed over 180 million times and garnered 300k comments on Weibo. - Read more (English)
Tencent teams up with Line to make payments easier for Chinese tourists in Japan. Line is a popular messenger app (especially in Taiwan and Japan), like WeChat, in Asian countries. One popular feature is “Line Pay.” Starting mid-December, WeChat Pay users will be able to use their e-wallets in Japan to pay retailers that accept Line Pay. - Read more (Chinese)
This isn’t the first time we mention this, but Chinese consumers are used to doing things their way- payment methods included. So, if you’re really trying to win their hearts, accommodation is the first step. Here’s our guide to online payments in China.
Sesame Credit report is now enough for Chinese to apply for a visa. At least to Canada, for now. Reportedly, Alibaba CEO, Jack Ma, was refused a visa nine times in his youth, and now he wants to assure that other Chinese don’t face the same problem. - Read more (Chinese)
It’s difficult for Chinese tourists to obtain visas to certain countries, but if the process was easier, it means more people may travel abroad.
E-tickets available for high-speed trains in 2019! So far, it’s possible to buy a ticket online, but a paper ticket needs to be used to enter the gate at the station. The e-tickets will be a major upgrade - people are becoming more accustomed to leaving home with just their mobile phones. - Read more (Chinese)
Chinese e-commerce customers dissatisfaction increases by 67% since 2017. The volume of complaints is especially high in the home appliance industry. According to the “2018 (China) E-Commerce User Experience and Complaint Monitoring Report”: the quality of Chinese e-commerce products and post-sales service is worrying. - Read more (Chinese)
Customer service is key- Chinese customers expect someone available to answer their questions, but brands often outsource it to companies that cannot handle the complaints in time. High-quality, in-house, customer service can build trust and nip dissatisfaction in the bud.
The working model for running projects for our clients is as follows: start small. They often outsource customer service to us in the early stages of the Chinese campaign. We work closely with their team, enhancing marketing efforts based on what we learn from providing customer service. As the project grows, they eventually hire an in-house employee and we transfer the work to them.
Taobao teams up with Little Red Book, the fastest growing social e-commerce platform in China. They’re doing beta testing now, and it seems soon reviews from Little Red Book will be available for Taobao users. Influencer reviews on the app are more valuable, and the platform itself is also famous for explosive sales. If one of the influencers there recommends a product, it sells out in seconds! Little Red Book is like a leveled-up Pinterest, but it’s still fresh and growing - unless directly acquired by Alibaba in the future, cooperation with Taobao will help drive new brands and merchants to the platform. - Read more (Chinese)
NetEase Kaola breaks last year’s Black Friday sales record in 10 hours. Kaola is the number one cross-border e-commerce platform selling foreign products to Chinese customers (according to iiMedia’s report from June 2018). Their CEO believes they play an important role in opening up Chinese cross-border policies. Their biggest and fastest growing market is China and they believe that Chinese demand for imported high-quality products will grow for at least the next decade. - Read more (Chinese)
Ralph Breaks the (Chinese) Internet. Have you seen Disney’s latest movie? It’s full of product placement- including some Chinese Internet giants such as Weibo and Tencent. However, the movie director admitted “he didn't really know much about those Chinese companies that are shaping Chinese people's daily life.” Neither do most Westerners.
Although the Chinese Internet is an independent ecosystem, Chinese reviews of the movie mentioned how similar the problems the movie introduced are to their own web culture: trolls, data manipulation, traffic-theft, recommendation system algorithms… No matter if it’s Google, Baidu, Facebook or Weibo - the issues are all too real! - Read more (Chinese)
China's middle-class characterized by “high income, high consumption, and high debt.” They also pursue a high-quality life and hold optimism towards it. As consumers, they focus on product and service quality, and increased self-value. At the same time, for 30% of the lower middle-class, loan repayments take over 40% of their monthly wages. The number of middle-class consumers in China is expected to reach 225 million by 2020. - Read more (Chinese)
Generations X, Y and Z have different shopping habits. It’s no surprise that Zillennials are the most enthusiastic ones about virtual shopping. But what else is there that makes the three completely different consumer groups? See the report here.
Westerners often imagine China will grow the way their own countries did - but China writes its own playbook. Or at least, the Party does. For Chinese people it means taking a bargain: play by our rules and we’ll assure prosperous living. It sounds like a no-way-out situation. But how much do “their rules” actually impose on happiness and quality of life? - Read more (English)
All ads on Weibo need to be published through the official channels. This is the only way for the platform to verify content, and due to complaints from users, all the accounts that release unaudited marketing information will be temporarily or entirely blocked. - Read more (Chinese)
It means that brands should pay more attention towards who they work with when opening a Weibo account and publishing ads. Working with authorized agencies and verifying the account is a way to prevent future problems.
WeChat official accounts go through a major clean-up. Account names, descriptions and logos were carefully inspected, and over 6k accounts that “influenced users’ search experience” were suspended or deleted! Most of them were somehow trying to piggyback on popular accounts. For example, users searching for “微信派” would bump into results such as: “微人言|派” or “微a信派b”. - Read more (Chinese)
We received quite a few responses to our post about how to do e-commerce on a budget of only $500. See the conversation on LinkedIn.
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