China Marketing Weekly: WeChat Product Recommendations

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 10:00


The China-US 'Trade War' sure is big news these days. How is it actually affecting business though? We're surveying our 2,000+ readers to find out. Fill out the three questions here. We’ll share the results next week.

In this week’s newsletter, we share the current study abroad trends, how WeChat pushes word of mouth recommendations, and which Western platform went down recently.

Dig in!



iQiyi launches a knowledge-sharing app (爱奇艺知识). It will cover different topics, including literature, finance, languages and arts, etc. The platform will allow content creators to submit their own content, or produce it in cooperation with iQiyi - the latter includes content planning, production and distribution. Audio and video will be recommended to users based on their interests and watching habits.
iQiyi has always relied on pay-for-content so it creates a good opportunity for content monetization. Also, the new platform is incorporated into iQiyi’s massive video and movie ecosystem, which allows it to intershare precious user data and traffic.
- Nara


Social Media

WeChat launched “Friend Recommendation” feature. WeChat has already been a good base for “word of mouth” recommendations - users take advantage of social groups and Moments to ask friends for recommendations or even find people to group purchase a certain product. Now, the platform - that has been testing different versions of the feature - launched “Good Product Circle” which allows users to share their favourite products with each other. If users purchase products using WeChat mini-programs or WeChat stores, the products will appear in “Users have bought it” tab. If they publish a review - the product will appear in the “Friends recommended” tab. - Read More (Chinese)

- Cherry



More Chinese students want to return home right after graduating from university abroad. The number of student who plan to stay in the chosen countries after the graduation is slowly decreasing, and so is the number of those willing to study in the US. The UK is soon to become the top destination - as the competitiveness and fees are lower, and overall conditions better. Good news for foreign universities - studying abroad is no longer a luxury few can afford. More and more Chinese international students come from ordinary backgrounds. - Read more (English)
- Wiki


Trade War

Malcolm Clarke’s new movie wants to show the real face of China to Americans. The director said that “the average Chinese person understands America far better than the average American understands China.” He also aims at showing the real picture behind the bloody pieces shown by mainstream media, and teach people to be more tolerant. - Read more (English)
I just wish people who blindly follow the mainstream media were open-minded enough to watch it.
- Wiki

- Wiki



Chinese consumers went crazy with some cleverly marketed products released lately by different brands. One example is Meitu’s skin problems detector. What? The company famous for its beautifying app is shooting themselves in the foot! The device scans your skin and notifies you of your skin’s needs, etc.
Showing how consumers’ tastes change over time - one of the biggest bottled-water producers just launched “carbonated coffee.” It’s supposed to be refreshing for scorching China summers, and may also be the answer to the growing need for caffeine.
Also, DQ (Dairy Queen) is working on special packaging for their ice-cream to fit China’s food delivery services. So their products are delivered and received just as frozen as an in-store purchase. - Read More(Chinese)
- Shirley

A podcast that contradicts escapism gains thousands of followers in China. Or maybe it is a kind of escape - from brain-draining live-streams and Korean TV dramas. “Gushi FM” (literally: Story FM) focuses on stories told by real people and touching the problems of modern Chinese society. It covers the LGBT+, wife trading, #MeToo, forced relocation and other issues that are very relevant in China - but not many speak about them. Surprisingly, only 1 out of 200 episodes has been taken down so far, probably because the government has not yet put much pressure on podcasts (they’re busy with videos now). Also, Gushi FM focuses on social problems, not politics. - Read more (English)
- Wiki



Tencent has replaced the mobile version of Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) with a new government-friendly game called “Game for Peace”. PUBG is a massive hit globally, but Tencent never attained authorization to monetize it. Game for Peace is much less violent and speckled with government propaganda, but is it actually any good? Some reports say it’s poorly reviewed, but I’ve also personally heard good reviews. It appears to be gaining traction. - Read more (English)
- Tait

Wikipedia goes down! As of the end of April, it has been confirmed that Wikipedia is now not accessible in China anymore. Before, only the Chinese (Taiwanese) version was blocked but now all languages went down - without any prior notice. - Read more (English)
(Great, just great…)
- Wiki


Other News

Baidu’s mini-programs hit 200 million monthly active users in less than a year. Just a reminder: mini-programs are a compact versions of apps within other apps. The phenomenon of mini-programs was started by WeChat, and now they’re incorporated in most of the giant apps. Baidu’s mini-programs are entirely open source and work well with any of the apps in Baidu’s ecosystem. - Read more (Chinese)
- Kevin

Bytedance’s apps will send users hazard alerts. The company has just announced their cooperation with China’s national safety institutions, and will receive information from  national, province and county-levels and forward them to the users of Douyin, Today’s Headlines and other apps in their ecosystem. - Read More (Chinese)
It’s a good example of how to make a good use of current all-media era. In China, many modern technologies (including AI, for example) are adapted and used at everyday-life level.
- Olivia

Beijing and Shanghai were named in the top ten startup ecosystems in the world. Silicon Valley and New York City landed the #1 and #2 spots in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report. - Read more (English)
- Tait




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