Some time ago I went to see the musical “Chicago” in Nanjing during the show’s international tour. While they’ve visited many cities in China and I was surprised to find open seats, this may not be a case for the remaining two months of the tour. Thanks to Didi, China’s answer to Uber, the musical got free advertisement all over the Chinese Internet - shame that they simultaneously managed to smash their own brand’s image. Read more below.
For social media, we discuss the plateau that brands have to face doing Douyin marketing and what to expect from KOL marketing in China.
Influencer marketing in China may have a slow return-on-investment but looks at the bigger picture. Influencers may have one to ten million followers and hundreds of thousands of daily readers - but how many immediate sales can they bring? It’s important to understand that Chinese consumers are slower to purchase - they may like the product, but are they gonna buy it on the spot? They’re more likely to save the post for later - and research your brand on social media and Baidu. That’s why it’s essential to build brand presence across many platforms. Don’t treat influencers as a method of direct sale - rather a way of dissemination and building a follower base. - Read more (English)
The biggest issue facing brands and influencers on Douyin: how to maintain their following. The short-video app has become a celebrity factory and money-making machine over the last year with over 500 million monthly active users. It’s been a playground for marketers’ creativity and a chance for regular people to find fame. It’s relatively easy to hit the first million fans and gain steady flow of new advertisers, but as the platform promotes newcomers - staying on top and maintaining dedication has become the biggest struggle for Douyin’s accounts. - Read more (Chinese)
WeChat mini-programs have built a strong following of users over 55 years old. As they’re familiar with WeChat’s interface, they often choose mini-programs over full-size apps for entertainment, news reading, and shopping. They also make their lives much easier with “search nearby” function. - Read more (English)
QQ may be the older brother of WeChat, but its user base is still growing. As of September 2018 the number of QQ’s daily active users has exceeded 100 mln. It attracted 20 million users in the past 6 months which can be compared with the growth of popular apps such as Today’s Headlines. - Read more (Chinese)
QQ is popular among teenagers and students, and is favoured over WeChat for group chats - it allows more user anonymity. For the projects we run, we often use QQ as a customer support tool or for building industry-related discussion groups.
Remake of “Chicago”’s song causes an uproar on Weibo. Musicians from across China published a cover of “Cell Block Tango” except they told actual accounts of Chinese women convicted for male-based crimes. It amassed hundreds of shares before being deleted from most platforms just days after. - Read more (Chinese)
Why? Didi (China’s Uber) reported the video because of its subject matter; they were scared the video would stir up more negative press following the recent high-profile murders of women by Didi drivers. Obviously, with female safety being a hot topic, Didi has shot themselves in the foot by outraging netizens. Another issue raised was about corporate influence on freedom of speech - does this liberty exist at all?
The only winner here may be “Chicago” itself - after touring China during recent months, the uproar gained public attention and will likely fill any open seats.
Chinese e-commerce giants are determined to offer more luxury brands than Amazon and other Western competitors. JD.com and Alibaba announced they will not only offer full control over brand image and price, but also a more attractive pricing system. - Read more (Chinese)
Nevertheless, it can still be a tough nut to crack. E-commerce platforms are plagued with counterfeit products - and luxury brands don’t want side-by-side representation. Over 90% of luxury brands in China have now chosen to open WeChat shops in combination with KOL and official accounts creating more control and promotional opportunities. Shorter term, it’s more cost effective and easier to operate. However, brands may turn to e-commerce platforms if they manage to solve current issues - it’s hard to ignore over 600 million yearly active users. - Read more (Chinese)
Tmall’s pre sales volume for Double Eleven already reached 100 million - and it only began November 1st. The “100 Million Club” includes big international brands like Apple, Huawei, Lancome, Olay, Estee Lauder, Skii, and L'Oreal. Tmall announced they will give away red envelopes of a joint value of 10 billion CNY, and apart from that brands offer their own discounts and events. - Read more (Chinese)
Alibaba’s revenue in the second quarter of 2018 hit over 12 billion USD, with a 54% increase compared to the last year. - Read more (Chinese)
Third-party mobile payment transactions in China reached 120 trillion CNY, marking an over 100% year-on-year growth (read more in Chinese). Leaders on the market are, of course, Alipay and Tenpay.
Convenience is of great value for Chinese consumers - even street vendors and musicians now offer mobile payments - accepting only PayPal or credit card solutions can be a major obstacle for Western brands. Read more on payments in China here.
The first China International Import Expo to be a symbol of China’s support for free trade and openness. While over 400,000 buyers and 3,600 companies from 172 countries and regions signed up for the expo, many of them cannot sell in China. Although the Chinese government promotes their efforts to lower tariffs on imported consumer goods, new hidden costs simultaneously emerge, or simply put: Chinese bureaucracy makes it extremely difficult to deal with. - Read more (English)
Having bad manners, knowing kung fu, eating dogs, and being materialistic - those are stereotypes foreigners often have about the Chinese. But what do the Chinese have to say about it? Watch the video here.