China Marketing Blog

China Marketing Weekly: Death, Douyin, and the Power of Women

Wiktoria Marszałek — Fri, 03/15/2019 - 08:00


Hi there!

We’re back this week with a sum-up of what drives “new consumption” in China based on data from Chinese giant, Alibaba- you’ve probably heard of them by now! Turns out some major forces are shifting, with both consumers and creators.
We also bring some insight based on our latest experience: who’s more likely to succeed on Douyin and what might stand in your way to setting up an account with Baidu?

Scroll down to find out!


Chinese Consumers

Women, Zillennials and low-tier cities are main drivers of the “new consumption”. Alibaba just released a “7 consumption trends” report (in Chinese), according to which: half of the entrepreneurs (active shop owners) on its platforms are women. They not only managed to sell products and services valued at over 13 billion CNY in poverty-stricken counties, but also help alleviate the economic level in these areas by promoting local culture on e-commerce platforms.

What’s more, online platforms have become a new marketplace for vehicle sales- 48% of online-car purchasers were born after 1990.
Younger generations are also the stronger and fastest growing spending force on the platforms, and they stand for 46% of Tmall’s Double Eleven 123.5 billion CNY turnover in 2018. They mostly invest in beauty and skin care, healthy snacks, street fashion apparel, quality home appliances, light luxury furniture, and pet supplies.
Another market not to be overlooked: 3rd and 4th-tier cities accounted for 24.9% and 26.1% (respectively) of the “new consumption” in 2018. Rural areas surpassed the 1st and 2nd-tier cities in terms of growth rate.

Alibaba’s platforms have also recorded a higher consumption for eco-friendly solutions such as “no plastic cutlery” or no packaged goods options. Funny enough, here’s what Alibaba’s smart supermarkets look like:

- Sissi



Chinese students to receive “death education”? The chief physician suggested at the second meeting of the 13th National People's Congress of China to start death education for primary and secondary school students to teach people respect for life and death. He said that a common problem in China is refusing severely ill patients with cancer a soothing treatment as families fear it’s not in line with “filial piety”. Also, he raised the alarming issue of the growing suicide rate among the youth. - Read more (Chinese)
In Chinese traditional culture death is a taboo, and in some households, even mentioning this word is unacceptable. As the congress meeting raised the topic, which trended on social media, some netizens suggested that "China lacks three kinds of education: sexual education, love education, and death education. These three concepts correspond to the three fulcrums of life - physical (body’s) integrity, soulfulness, and the value of life." - Read more (Chinese)
- Sesia

Students required to make new friends on WeChat to pass an assignment- the minimum number being 1,001 new friends in two weeks. The teacher claims “it builds skills necessary for jobs in new media”. - Read more (English)
- Wiki


Social Media

Foreigners have it easier to succeed on Douyin. A Chinese saying goes: “Visiting monks give better sermons.” Although foreigners often can’t speak Chinese and are unable to interact with fans, their “exotic” vibe is enough to garner attention. Of course, there are Westerners who build their accounts on their amazing Mandarin and grasp of culture and trends, or they are English speakers who help Chinese users improve their language skills. However, we’ve also seen many foreigners flowing in on their “white faces” and it creates a real chance for foreign brands who want to gain some Chinese exposure. Douyin accounts cannot yet be verified using foreign passports or business licenses, but we’re hoping the policy will be relaxed like on other major platforms.
Stay in touch for more in-depth thoughts on Douyin- we’re preparing a blog post on that and will share some on-the-ground experience.
- Nara

Tencent launches a live-streaming tool for WeChat public accounts - Tencent Live. This tool is designed to provide a professional and stable online live broadcast solution for WeChat users. The tool is currently going through beta testing and is being tested by a small number of WeChat public accounts. It will allow influencers and brands to invite their followers to join the broadcast through their mini-program at a set time and send a reminder through a push notification. - Read more (Chinese)
Live-streaming is one of the best ways for influencers and brands to interact with their fans and shorten the distance. The latest app to add the feature is Douyin.
- Phoebe

WeChat boosted employment opportunities by 22.35 million in 2018, according to the latest report. Among them, the number of direct employment opportunities was 5.27 million, and mini-program development led to 1.82 million employment opportunities. The report shows that flexible employment is the biggest feature of WeChat platform employment.
What’s more, about 11% of users have tried to use WeChat to find employment, 51% of them have obtained more employment information through the app, and 25% have successfully found jobs. - Read more (Chinese)
- Shirley

Advertising and marketing Weibo’s main income source in 2018. The number of the platform’s active users hasn’t stopped expanding- hitting 462 million of monthly active users by the end of 2018. Mobile users make 93% of monthly users, which is a growth of 70 million year-on-year; and the number of daily active users reached 200 million, an increase of 28 million. - Read more (Chinese)
- Lillian

Subway advertising and social marketing are closely connected in China. Typically, most subway ads have QR codes that link to WeChat, where users can learn more or even make purchases. - Read more (English)
- Tait



Little Red Book (小红书) about to roll out an official social e-commerce feature for WeChat. Moving into a mini-program will improve speed and functionality as well as enable additional features. - Read more (Chinese)
The platform’s audience has grown to over 200 million users and built a highly-engaged community. It’s a trusted source of advice and recommendations for fashion and beauty lovers among the Chinese netizens, and is another space that supplies for China’s growing number of online influencers.
However, media and users reported that Xiaohongshu's products are commonly fake, and the platform has had trouble attracting brands to open their official stores. As WeChat’s extremely strict with their policies, there’s a rather high chance the newest feature may not get through.
- Nara


Search Engines

Advertising platforms are becoming stricter about the loading speed of websites. For example, we saw quite a few Baidu account setup applications turned down lately, both for search and display ads, because they deemed the advertiser's site as too slow. The rejection note said all pages must load within 8 seconds.
- Kevin

Today’s Headlines (今日头条) rolls out a search function. The platform will first allow users to search through the in-app official accounts and news, but is soon to enable search function for the whole Internet. The platform claims their in-app search tool is as capable as search engines such as Baidu or 360 Search. Today’s Headlines’ tool will not be a standalone search engine for now though- it is supposed to improve internal searches and help users browse through in-app news. However, it’s not clear yet if it creates any more opportunities for in-app advertising. - Read more (Chinese)
- Jessie



Cainiao’s delivery vaults will now use face scanning as a verification method when you pick up your package. The company assures the technology cannot be fooled by scanning a picture etc. Fortunately, the good ‘ol way of entering a code will still be available. - Read More (Chinese)
- Olivia




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