It’s been a week of important discussions on Chinese social media: to freckle or not to freckle, and are Millennials really as poor as they claim?
Hopefully, as the last Chinese New Years mention: we also discuss how important social media’s become for shaping family life in China, and how many transactions were made online during the holiday.
Also, have you heard of the new Xinhua News host? It’s claimed to be an AI creation, but having seen the video - I’d rather believe it’s a mystification ;-)
What does it take in China to experience financial freedom? This past New Years, Cherries became a status symbol as the price of this common purchase (or a gift) inflated considerably. Netizens used them as an example of the rising cost of living in the country- stating that considering the expenses of travelling home, cherries are a luxury they can’t afford. As “the cherry freedom” became a trending topic on social media, some netizens pointed out people that are truly poor do not complain about it online. State media used the complaints as a pointer of rising living standards in China: once they couldn’t afford a few Yuan-worth snacks, now the standards have raised. - Read more (English)
Zara accused of “uglifying China” as they released a post featuring a Chinese model with visible freckles and almost no make-up. Weibo users mocked the brand for finding “a needle in the sea” as Chinese usually don’t have freckles, and questioned the brand’s choice of a model for the China-targeting campaign. However, there were still netizens that pointed out people’s oversensitivity after the Dolce&Gabbana scandal and also China’s attachment to overly photoshopped pictures. - Read more (English)
Zara put a bet on a natural look because that’s the general trend in Europe, but in China, the faces you see every day in ads and on social media are rather bending the reality… Do you remember our post on how a perfect picture in China look like? Check it here.
Douyin bring families together for Chinese New Year. “Douyin-ing” with parents was the most popular trend during the holiday and never-ending stream of videos shot with parents and grandparents flooded the app. The most viewed categories also included: fireworks, family gathering, visiting temples, and outdoor dances. The top city in China was Chongqing, and abroad- Singapore. - Read more (Chinese)
The Forbidden City opens to public at night for the first time. The event was limited-time only, rolled out for Lantern Festival and the free-of-charge tickets disappeared from the website within seconds (the limitation was 3k visitors per night). The demand was so huge that people offered up to 5k CNY (450 USD) to anyone willing to sell their ticket. - Read more (Chinese)
As we discussed before, the Forbidden City has been flourishing since the new director took over. He completely rebranded the cultural sight, creating a very compelling image of the property online. The Forbidden City is now followed by almost 8 million people on social media, and its themed products are trending online the moment they’re released. They also “refreshed” their cultural collection encouraging people to dig deeper into their cultural heritage.
What makes Western brands notorious in China? The attachment to Western platforms, especially content-wise, and marginalizing Chinese teams in decision making, according to the Chinese employees of big Western brands. - Read more (English)
Shanghai’s Hongqiao station becomes the first 5G train station thanks to the 5G IDS (indoor digital system). Now, all the travellers can connect to their fast Wi-Fi that not only allows them to download a 2 GB-movie in 20 seconds, but also access a series of AI-based smart-city APPs. - Read More (Chinese)
Sogou and Xinhua News roll out a stand-alone AI-based news host. The technology uses Sogou’s search engine database. The AI host will be an official reporter for the plenary session for the Chinese government in 2019. It’s an important test for the technology that is to be used in other industries, such as the medical industry in the future. - Read more (Chinese)
Just watch the video - would you guess it’s not a human?
The number of China’s online students reaches 135 million. So far, first-tier cities have been fueling the growth rate, but as competition grows more fierce, some companies switch their attention to users from second-tier cities.
Companies focused on online education obviously pay more attention to digital marketing than regular (offline) education institutions. In 2018, over 180 million CNY was invested in online advertisement for the industry, which is a 52% increase compared to the previous year. However, VIPKids, one of the most popular online English-teaching schools got a lot of attention as their metro and elevator ads have screamed at everyone in every corner. The company also did not save money on influencers and variety show ads, which was a general trend in the industry.
Based on the current trends, what we expect to see in 2019 is also short videos and WeChat mini-programs. - Read More (Chinese)
Miss Fresh (每日优鲜) becomes an online top choice for fresh food delivery. Its app and WeChat mini-program both topped the industry’s most popular lists in 2018. Businesses such as Miss Fresh and Hema Supermarkets revolutionize the fresh food industry. Although there are still consumers (mostly older generations) that prefer purchasing groceries, meat and seafood locally, the convenience of fresh food delivery is winning over consumers’ hearts. Miss Fresh, for example, promises a delivery within 1 hour within 3 km-radius.
Over 50% percent of the app’s users live in 1st-tier cities, and over 70% of the users are located in better-developed Northeast China. - Read more (Chinese)
UnionPay recorded 262 billion CNY (39 billion USD) worth of transactions solely on Chinese New Year’s Eve. It’s an increase of 81% compared to the last year. It includes mobile payments and online banking. - Read more (Chinese)
UnionPay is one of the popular payment methods in China, they assure the transaction can be completed within 0.2 sec. Alongside Tenpay and Alipay, it is also one of the most trusted. The big three can and should be implemented by foreign companies that want to target Chinese consumers, no matter if they operate in China or overseas.
UnionPay app grows stronger, with over 100 million users gained in just a year. The app was launched at the end of 2017 by UnionPay and various commercial banks. Compared to WeChat Pay and Alipay, there are some important advantages such as: no fees for withdrawing money back to the bank card, real-time withdrawal, and the ability to check bank account balances. Also, multiple bank cards can be easily switched and checked with just a few taps. In the meantime, Alipay started charging a 0.1% fee for withdrawing money from the app to the bank account, the fee which WeChat Pay introduced much earlier. - Read more (Chinese)
Cryptocurrency exchange platform, Huobi, asked to remove Chinese mobile payment services from its over-the-counter trading. Both Alipay and Tenpay sent a legal request to the platform claiming it’s an unauthorised use of their trademark for the purpose of cryptocurrency exchange. - Read more (English)