In this newsletter, read about the constantly growing number of users on Douyin and knowledge-sharing platforms, habits of WeChat official accounts’ users and what sparked discussion online in the recent week.
Douyin and its overseas version (TikTok) gained almost 190 million users in the last 3 months! It’s a 70% increase compared to the number of new users in the first quarter of 2018. Just in case you somehow underestimated the short-video phenomenon in China, the app has also broken through with its relatively new in-app purchase feature which is expected to reach 19 million USD-- 220% increase compared to the last year.
The app has also taken India by storm, with 89 million new users, but was taken down on Tuesday, as courts rule it exposes children to inappropriate content. In China, Douyin’s popularity is obviously on the rise although some netizens claim the app promotes stupid content and is a huge waste of time.
Cross-promotion is a good way of growing quality audience on WeChat, especially for new accounts. Recommendations from another user or official account is the main source of traffic for the new account, according to the “WeChat Official Accounts in April 2019” report (in English).
It is important information. WeChat has quite a tough ecosystem and hitting your first few hundred fans, unless you have a strong brand position in China is much more difficult than on Weibo.
Also, the report mentions that most users follow less than 20 WeChat accounts which doesn’t seem very likely. Our team members, on average, follow 130 official accounts. I also remember some of my Chinese friends debating how many accounts they follow (they were laughing at me as I only followed a few back then), and the numbers were 100+.
Chinese state television CCTV encourages young people to study at Bilibili, a Chinese ACG platform. Over 18 million people have already used the platform for learning in the past year, which is equivalent to twice the number of college entrance examinations in 2018. The platform also live-streams “classes” marked as #studywithme, the total amount of time recorded so far is 1.5 million hours of live-streaming. The categories cover history, food, make-up, technology etc. - Read more (Chinese)
Knowledge sharing is becoming a serious trend in China, so it’s a great thing Bilibili opened up, but the platform has faced problems with low-quality or vulgar content before. And as Chinese regulations are now aimed at content platforms, Bilibili needs to step up their verification efforts in order to not get taken down.
Chinese netizens say the Notre Dame fire is karma for burning down Summer Palace in 1860. Some comments mentioned it’s “hard to sympathise with the French people” after what French and British troops did during the Opium War. As usual when the nationalist vibe is getting through on social media, state news agency Xinhua joined in with a commentary saying that just as the whole world grieves over Notre Dame, no one felt sorry for China a hundred years ago… Fortunately, more popular still was a hashtag “Notre Dame de Paris and me” which netizens used to express their regret, and show some overseas trip pics (like the rest of the world did) ;-) - Read more (English)
Copyright discussion sparks online as Visual China falsely claims rights to the first black hole pictures. China’s biggest stock photos provider put the photos on sale soon after they were released by the European Southern Observatory. “Does your company also own copyrights to the national flag and national emblem?” - posted the Chinese Communist Youth League on Weibo. - Read more in Chinese or in English
Chinese fans get upset as 6 minutes of the new Game of Thrones episode was cut out by Chinese censors. The episode was streamed by Tencent since HBO is blocked in China, and they not only censored scenes including sex and nudity, but also fighting scenes. - Read more (English)
China’s SaaS market has plenty of opportunities for foreign firms. “Even small foreign entrants with a quality product and an effective strategy will be able to compete in the Chinese SaaS market.” - Read more (English)
In our experience with software marketing in China (which is a lot), some foreign SaaS offerings can easily be extended to the Chinese market, while others require significant changes.
China finally loosens its residency registration system. The infamous hukou has determined people’s lives for over 60 years now, and has become one of the biggest reasons of city-village economy differences. Millions of people living in cities without a resident permit are refused health care and are forced to leave their children behind (they can’t go to a public school outside of their residence area).
However, based on the new regulations, it will be now much easier to move the hukou to Chinese lower-tier cities (1 to 3 million citizens). The government hope it will boost housing demand hence leverage slowing down economy. - Read more (English)
Alipay’s “mutual care” community reaches 50 million users becoming the biggest community of its kind in China. The programme launched the end of last year and is a crowdfunding system working like an insurance company. A fee as small as few cents is charged to all the users and is donated to those in need who apply for help. Most users and beneficients come from towns and rural areas, or are migrant workers with no work insurance. - Read more (Chinese)
Suning promises to deliver your veggies from the farmer to their pick-up points in 24 hours. Chinese giants never slow down the pace of the race, and grocery e-commerce is just another field for a battle. Suning may not be the first one to roll out the feature, 2nd and 3rd- tier cities have seen similar apps before, but from now on the competition and hence R&D investments will step onto another level. - Read more (Chinese)
Chinese consumers LOVE fresh products, and that’s one of reasons why Hema supermarkets popularized. Also, very popular (and pricey) in China: restaurants where your food (fish and seafood mostly) is still alive when you choose a table. Or, lobster vending machines.
JD.com launches an instant delivery service in major cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. The expected time of delivery within a 3-km radius is 30 minutes, similar to food delivery. It means your clothes, house appliances, cosmetics (or anything really) will reach your doorstep almost instantly as long as the merchant is located in the same city as you. JD.com is the second most popular e-commerce platform in China, right after Taobao. - Read more (Chinese)
Can shopping in China get any more convenient?