China Marketing Weekly: Payments, Short Videos, & Drag Queens

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 18:00


It seems many news stories take rounds in our newsletter and come back sooner than we thought; so, this week, we talk more about short video platforms, podcasts and payments in China!

We’ve received many questions about podcast platforms lately, and today we come back with some data to prove the medium’s rising popularity. Also, short-video platforms continue to be number-one in China in 2019, and they’re as addictive as ever (ask Wiki, she’s the latest victim…)!

Dig in to learn what other platforms to look into!


Short-Video Platforms

Can cross-dressing males on Douyin help Chinese society open up, or are they just reinforcing stereotypes? When I first bumped into cross-dressing male vloggers on Douyin, I thought: wow, they have so many likes, is China warming up to drag queens and gender issues? Not necessarily. Because the videos they post are mostly cartoonish portrayals of female stereotypes - there’s much more to women that just spending thousands on lipsticks… Moreover, the bloggers often have a separate account where they underline their male selves garnering praise for “understanding women”. - Read more (English)
I can’t say the videos are not funny, but in a long-term, they’re harmful to both drag queens and girls who enthusiastically comment on the videos (“Maomao Jie understands women better than they understand themselves!”). After all, Douyin is “a manufacturer of social sentiments”.
- Wiki

Educational videos on Douyin can now be up to 5 minutes long! Don’t get too excited though. For now, the privilege is only granted to members of Douyin’s Science Popularization Group that involves 13 academics and 25 experts. All the other videos are still allowed to be up to 15 sec or 1 minute long (as soon as you hit 1,000 followers). - Read More (in Chinese)
- Olivia

GuoKr (果壳) launches a short-video app, Zhi Niu (吱扭), focused on science, entertainment, culture, etc. The app looks similar to Douyin but is focused on knowledge sharing. - Read more (Chinese)
GuoKr is a pan-tech community platform founded in 2010. It is committed to advocating science and technology concepts to the public and providing responsible and intellectually popular science content.
- Jessie


Chinese Consumers

Audio program subscribers are better educated, younger, and more mature than regular netizens, according to the report by Nielsen CC Data and Qingting FM.
In 2018, the audience for online audio programs reached 660 million, which means that 48% of China’s population listens! It accounts for 82% of netizens. However, users habits are rather casual, and they are not very loyal to any channels.
More than 40% of listeners are willing to pay for online programs to get exclusive and high-quality content, and more than 30% of listeners have purchased online programs. Numbers are higher for people born after 1990 - 55% are willing to pay for online programs and 47% have already purchased online programs..
Chinese podcast platform users have certainly warmed up to paid content, especially younger ones as most platforms are flooded with low-quality content. Check out our blog post series on podcast platforms in China here.
- Nara

“Bohemian Rhapsody” released in China scrubbed of gay scenes. All LGBT-related content is not in line with the official doctrine and is marked as "abnormal sexual behavior," therefore the movie has been censored. However, many voices in the community said the fact the movie was released in China at all feels like a small victory already. - Read more (English)
Ps. We’re preparing a post on marketing to LGBT community in China, so stay tuned for further updates!
- Wiki


Social Media

Tencent's online advertising business revenue hits 58.1 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 44%. Based on the number of monthly active accounts, Tencent's WeChat and QQ are China's largest social communication platforms. As of the end of 2018, the number of monthly active accounts on QQ hit 807 million and on WeChat exceeded 1 billion. On average, more than 750 million users read WeChat Moments posts every day.  - Read More (Chinese) or in English
- Cherry

RED (or Little Red Book, or 小红书) launches official brand accounts. It allows brands to verify their account, interact with fans, and set up a flagship in-app store, hence increase their conversion rate. No worries, if you already opened a brand account before, no need to re-open. - Read more (Chinese)
- Cherry

Weibo tightens restrictions to fight fake popularity boosting. If it’s discovered that an influencer, program, or any topic entered the trending or “hot search” lists in any way that was not due to regular user behaviour, the account or hashtag will be banned from the trending lists for 3 months. The platform has also announced increased effort to catch that kind of behaviour. - Read More (Chinese)
- Shirley



Alipay and WeChat Pay rank first among digital payment services in China in 2019, according to Statista. The following names on the list are QQ Wallet and Baidu Wallet, with overseas competitors lagging behind. 60% of respondents said they use digital financial services every day both online and offline.
So, for those of you who plan on selling anything to Chinese consumers, make sure you implement a Chinese payment solution. No, PayPal doesn’t count ;-)

For more payments-related information, check our blog post.

- Kevin



Tencent games integrates with Scratch gaming platform. Tencent will also launch a coding ("Bucking") programming platform based on Scratch for primary and secondary school students. At present, coding has been set up in the Middle School of Peking University, and Shenzhen Mingde Primary and Secondary School has set up a programming course, which will cover nearly 1,000 primary and secondary schools. - Read more (Chinese)
- Jessie


The number of farmers purchasing agricultural material on Taobao (Countryside Edition) grows by 120% year-on-year. It also includes buyers from poor countries. In 2018, the number of county-level sellers with annual sales of 100 million yuan on Taobao and Tmall platforms reached over three hundred. - Read more (Chinese)
E-commerce platforms in China more and more turn to 3rd and 4th-tier cities, as well as smaller towns and villages. Alibaba launched a special version of the Taobao app last year and opened hundreds of pick-up points located in small towns and villages to make it easier for customers there to purchase online. However, so far, Pinduoduo has been the most successful selling to poorer regions thanks to their cost-effective solutions.
- Lillian




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