China Marketing Blog

China Marketing Weekly: How Many Faux Pas Can One Brand Make?

Wiktoria Marszałek — Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:00


Happy Year of the pig! We’re back after the holiday- still in the festive spirit, and apparently so are consuls and ambassadors of different countries in China - watch how they celebrated the new year with Peppa Pig.

Yes… Peppa Pig may be the biggest winner of this year’s Spring Festival, although as usual, the fight for attention of Chinese consumers was relentless. Was it playing on their emotions with moving videos (second year in a row, Apple!)? Or, just luring them with the most eligible influencers - brands in China can now take a short break. There seems to be one big loser and it’s Dolce&Gabbana... again.

After last year’s scandal, they released pig-themed T-shirts for Chinese New Year, and got slammed again by Chinese netizens who think it’s a portrayal of Chinese consumers as fat pigs with money to spend, and by Western netizens for pandering to Chinese consumers. Oh boy...

Anyways, we also sum up more Chinese New Years data and trends for you below. Dig in!
- Wiki


Chinese Consumers

823 million people exchanged red envelopes during Chinese New Year, according to WeChat’s 2019 Spring Festival report- a 7% increase compared to last year. The number of sent messages and Moments posts peaked on New Year's Eve- most sent by people born after 1990. They also accounted for over 30% of outbound travellers among WeChat users. Hong Kong, China, Macau and Bangkok were still the top destinations, but for the first time France made it to the top 10 of the countries where WeChat was used as a payment method. - Read more (Chinese)
- Sissi

Fujian province is the most generous in sending red envelopes - with an average value of 12k CNY (1.7k USD) per envelope in Putian City. What’s striking, its neighbour province - Guangdong - was the province with the lowest value of red envelope money (on average 50 CNY). - Read more (Chinese)

- Sesia

Chinese youth opt for “customized” winter holidays instead of traditional Chinese New Year celebration. They choose independent traveling or trips tailored just to their needs altering the classic image of organized Chinese holidays, according to the Ctrip report. Also, Thailand managed to jump to top destination - surprisingly, after a boat of Chinese tourists sank last year. It’s thanks to the new visa-on arrival policy the country introduced. - Read more (English)
- Wiki

Spring Festival Gala is like a Super Bowl for Chinese advertisers - the difference is most of them are Internet and tech companies. The 5-hour-long show is also much more interactive and has become a New Year’s tradition in many households. It may also be a unique opportunity to target consumers in smaller cities otherwise difficult to access through digital channels. Is it a banker bet though? Not necessarily. - Read more (English)
- Wiki



Weibo challenges Chinese netizens with “Flying Red Envelopes”. The social platform engaged some of the most popular influencers and brands into a huge giveaway that heated the platform’s users - and ignited a rather significant wave of “jealousy”. The popular derogatory term “柠檬精” (ningmengjing, literally: a lemon spirit) is used on social media to describe self-centered people. This time the term was even promoted by the platform - people who did not win a price (that included thousand-yuan-worth red envelopes, and luxury bags from Prada and Louis Vuitton) often posted that they “went sour” (酸了).Individual users who sent out special “koi” red envelopes could also win a chance to get onto a “hot page” and get their personal Weibo account promoted by the platform. It’s not an opportunity that you waste in China! - Read more (Chinese)
- Sesia



Chinese New Year purchases on Taobao increased by 350% compared to the previous year - Millennials being, of course, the main customers. Not surprisingly, the most popular purchases were food, drinks, snacks, seafood, meat, etc. The top province was Guangzhou with 13.5 products purchased per capita, followed by Shanghai and Hangzhou. - Read more (Chinese)

Chinese New Year is the best time for offline retailers as well, as the older generations are the one taking care of meal preparation - and most of the traditional menus remain unchanged. However, as younger generations take over, so does e-commerce. There’s a significant increase of New Year purchases made online every year thanks to the rapid development of e-commerce platforms and logistics. Maybe there’ll also be a time when more exotic/international dishes will be welcomed onto the new year’s tables too.
- Nara


Chinese Platforms

Chinese influencers can earn a lot more than their Western counterparts. One of the reasons is that social and e-commerce are heavily integrated in China, driving more sales directly through influencers. Another reason is that advertising can be restricted, causing higher costs or even being impossible in some cases. - Read more (English)
- Tait

Alipay becomes the second most popular app in China, surpassing QQ. Because of the launch of in-app mini-programs, and one in particular: “答答星球” (Dada Xingqiu). Downloaded 200 million times in just 20 days, it’s compared to the phenomenon of the popular WeChat game “Jump Jump”.
Chinese New Year was a special time for apps and brands in China- with some spare time to kill, the number of active users exploded. For example, Coca-Cola’s mini-program on Alipay got 40 times more users than the week before, and a popular ticket platform - 70 times more. Many brands used that trend to leverage the number of mini-program users with promotions such as “Favourite the mini-program, get a reward”. - Read more (Chinese)
- Phoebe



World’s first AI-based cat shelter supporting “face recognition” opened in China! Nope, it’s not a joke. An engineer from Baidu Brain joined forces with a veteran cat rescuer to give stray cats a better chance of survival! It only takes the cat to scan their face to enter the shelter and get some food. If the cat is hurt, a camera at the entrance can notify volunteers that will further assist the animal. It’s actually a great step forward in both daily life usage of artificial intelligence and raising animal rights awareness. - Read more (Chinese)
- Sissi

The number of mobile Internet active users reached 1.13 billion. Monthly time spent online on mobiles per capita exceeded 341.2 minutes, an increase of 63 minutes compared to the data from the end of 2017. New potential growth opportunities have emerged, such as 5G, industry Internet, new user habits, etc. Everyone now has a chance to succeed. In January, three new apps conquered Chinese Internet, and what’s more important - challenged WeChat which seemed to be inviolable. Opportunities are endless indeed, however, as it’s been proven in the recent months, in China it’s not that difficult to catch the light as it is to stay afloat. - Read more (Chinese)
- Shirley

China accounts for almost half of total apps downloaded in 2018, and “accounted for almost 40 percent of the $101 billion consumers spent on apps worldwide through paid downloads, in-app purchases and in-app subscriptions”. - Read more (English)
- Wiki




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