China Marketing Weekly: New Year - New Regulations.
Here’s the last newsletter before Chinese New Year - best wishes for the coming year of the pig! For the topic, we discuss what are the most popular products purchased for the holiday, and how female employees got some extra days off for dating.
There have also been some updates to social platform regulations such as live-streaming and WeChat. As for trending topics, a very simple question sparked heated discussion online: should they or should they not say thank you to delivery guys?
WeChat doubles their verification process for Chinese New Year. As many official accounts (including Today’s Headlines, short-video platforms and WeChat’s partner - JD.com) have already violated platform’s regulations kicking off their holiday campaigns, WeChat announced they are stepping up their efforts to review the promoted content. This includes, among others, redirecting users to another app and offering red envelopes for sharing events with friends. Red envelopes can be offered for participating in games, for example, or, just because of the Chinese New Year, but not in exchange for sharing or following.
So, even more than usual, brands should be more careful when launching events or mini-programs. Double-check the rules, otherwise you may get blocked, fined, or even banned. - Read more (Chinese)
First batch of standardized live-streaming regulations released. The regulations clarify issues such as hosts’ dress code: female hosts are not to be exposed too much, and cannot reveal chest, buttocks nor underwear; hosts must not wear “sexy” uniforms or underwear, or any clothing that contains text and pattern covering information that is prohibited by national laws and regulations.
For live-streaming platforms the new regulations mean stepping up content monitoring systems. For example, they are now required to have a 24/7 content reviewing team, and the illegal content reports should be resolved by the platform within 90 seconds. - Read more (Chinese)
“Should we say thank you to delivery men?” - the topic sparked discussion online, after Meituan released an internal report in which their employees said they wished customer said “thank you” to them. Some netizens said it’s basic decency to do so- but others argued that they pay for the service so there’s no need to thank anyone. - Read more (English)
The delivery fee is usually 0.9 to 1.4 USD per order, tips are not a thing in China - and delivery guys usually have 20 minutes to deliver food to the customer, rain or shine.
New Oriental’s employees’ performance strips company’s poor-management and middle-level managers’ ignorance. In the adaptation of a popular song “沙漠骆驼” (Desert Camel), the issues of employees’ dissatisfaction, management inefficiency and corruption are brought up. And writing nonsense PPTs… ;-)
The performance was a part of the company’s annual conference, and was used to show what the company’s problems are and how to fix them. Netizens went crazy about the video posted online, saying that’s probably the most truthful thing they’ve seen in ages. They also appraised the company’s CEO who rewarded the creators of the video and announced they’ll use it to improve their management and processes in the future. - Read more (Chinese)
Food and beverages the most popular sales category for Chinese New Year, but purchases are made mostly offline. As digital and paper red envelopes are the most common holiday gift, Chinese consumers do not shop for presents as Westerners do for Christmas. Instead, they stock up food as the holiday is one of those rare times in China when stores are closed - and the holiday is also all about eating-eating-eating.
Surprisingly, in the era of e-commerce, Chinese consumers still choose mortar stores when it comes to holiday food shopping. In 2018, over 80% of Millenials and 90% of people born in 1970s decided to shop offline. - Read more (English)
Female employees get extra days off for Chinese New Years to… find love. The Hangzhou company who decided to make this move says their female staff don’t have much contact with the outside world and want to give them more time and opportunity to meet new people. They say it’s to make them happier as someone who is happy at home can be more productive at work. - Read more (English)
Women over 30 who are still single are considered “leftovers” in China, and family gatherings during the holiday may be a particularly rough time for them. That’s why some of them decide to rent a boyfriend to introduce to their parents. Btw. if you want to rent parents to impress your future spouse, you can do it as well…
Peppa Pig movie trailer that took over Chinese social media (we talked about it last week) sparked a discussion online over social problems such as “the one-child policy, rural-urban migration, and discrimination between urban and rural residents”. With fast-developing urban areas and rural regions lagging behind, the deep rift in Chinese society is growing bigger. The video also brought attention to loosening family bonds, especially for those who moved to cities. - Read more (English)
Taobao rolls out live-streaming app just in time for Chinese New Year. Live-streaming has gotten very popular in China - it’s a straightforward and interactive way of communicating with customers, and it’s a great way of e-commerce promotion. “Watch and shop at the same time!”
Taobao live-streaming app is extremely suitable for merchants who already have their stores on the platform, as long as they can build a connection with their audience and create engaging content. - Read more (Chinese)
Second-tier cities and male audiences are the main growth point for Douyin app in 2018, according to the platform’s report. Beijing was claimed to be “the city of Douyin”. The top category for traditional culture was calligraphy, “Gesture dance” won as the most popular dance type, and “Little Star” (小星星) was the most popular song video.
When it comes to content, unlike Weibo, Douyin’s algorithms value content and views over the follower base, which means independent users can still receive a lot of traffic as long as their videos are creative and interactive. Simultaneously, Douyin is called the biggest factory of… Weibo influencers as users often jump from Douyin to Weibo to follow their favourite influencers. - Read the report (in Chinese)
Mobike gets sucked into Meituan’s ecosystem marking an end of a shared-bikes startups era. The last standing player is officially gone then. Shared bikes was quite a phenomenon in 2017 and it seemed like a new startup company popped up every day. However, in 2018 most of the startups bankrupted and those who survived were acquired by huge players such as Alibaba. Now, as Mobike’s app disappears (read more in Chinese), we can clearly see a pattern. Startups in China are there to come up with great ideas, but all in all, it always ends up with Tencent and Alibaba. And even platforms that seem to be independent players, such as Suning for example - you can find that 20% of their shares belong to Alibaba. See the graph here.
WeChat launches “Cultural Interaction” mini-game category. The platform gradually enables more and more categories, but once chosen, the category cannot be changed. Mini-games also do not allow applet migration with mini-programs. - Read more (Chinese)
Chinese governments releases a new tax app, and it’s one huge mess. Just as the government goes mobile, Chinese citizens discover they’re listed on a payroll of unknown companies they never worked at. This is due to data theft or companies evading tax payment.
Another issue is a lot of copycat apps popped up trying to scam user by stealing data or applying small fees. - Read more (English)
Our team celebrated the coming new year of the pig eating-eating-eating (obviously!) and… dressing up! That’s the second time we played Murder Mystery game and loved it!
If you know anybody that would love our company culture and has skills in Chinese digital marketing of any type, send them our way. Here’s more info.