Social media in China
China, the world’s largest economy.
According to economist Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics, “2014 was the last year in which the United States could claim to be the world’s largest economic power. China enters 2015 at the top, where it will likely remain for a very long time, if not forever.” The stats back up this claim, particularly on the internet, where Chinese rule has never been so dominant. It is indeed the first time that Mandarin has superseded English among internet users.
10 million more online users each and every month
This strong on-line presence can be explained in the main by the high penetration of mobile devices; phones and tablets. Today, nearly 700 million Chinese people are connected and 315 million of them buy products on-line, which is about a quarter of the population. Certain figures published recently will make your head spin: Did you know that Chinese on-line user numbers grows by 10 million every month and that they surf for more than 150 minutes a day on average? Furthermore, during Chinese New Year, more than 10 trillion messages are sent on WeChat, the leading social network in China. Wechat’s parent company, Tencent, will be delighted with this news. Indeed, in addition to data collected from users, nearly 2 billion people from 185 different countries have connected their bank account to their WeChat account. As it ponders its next move, taking substantial market share from Alibaba, Tencent could become the next big key player in e-commerce on social networks.
Businesses on Social Media, an absolute enigma.
Foreigners may be oblivious, but the Chinese on-line market and social media is one of the most promising developments for business. For example, Jim Lerch, in charge of business development for Youku (Chinese Youtube), said, “Most Chinese national brands and other companies who study e-commerce trends publish countless reports which are already obsolete the day they come out”. Experts believe that trade in social media is 10 years ahead of the West. It is therefore more necessary than ever for foreign companies to incorporate them in their strategy, particularly in regards to analysing new purchasing behaviours. Using social media in China to help sell your products or services requires an understanding of the social network itself. You will need to adapt your strategy accordingly. Here are some tips that should help you to achieve your goals:
Focus on Chinese social networks
Chinese censorship is a real blockade to Western networks and the most popular social networks simply don’t work here. So, do not waste your time and forget about Twitter, Facebook, Youtube et al.
Overview of Chinese social networks:
WeChat, or Weixin in Chinese, is the flagship application of Tencent. Very popular in China, the application has 600 million members worldwide. WeChat launched Wechat Store last year, an e-commerce service open to all businesses who have an official account and have implemented Tencent’s payment system. These social networks are pretty effective too! For example, last year, “Smart Car” had a sale and advertised through WeChat. 388 vehicles were sold in the space of 3 minutes…
Weibo: this micro-blogging platform is the Chinese answer to Twitter. With over 500 million users, Weibo cannot be ignored by brands who want to sell to Chinese consumers. This social network enables its users to share any type of content or to discuss directly with their favourite brands and celebrities. Ensure you have a official account, as this will make your brand seem more trustworthy for your users, as there’s been many cases of fake accounts scamming customers.
QQ IM: Simple messaging service and perfect companion to stay in contact with friends. Developed by Tencent, owner of WeChat, QQ offers many services such as on-line gaming, music, shopping. Despite encountering stern competition from newer services, QQ remains the undisputed leader with 830 million users.
Qzone: Qzone allows its 755 million registered users to write blogs, share photos, music or videos and discuss topics which interest them.
Some other social networks have tens or even hundreds of millions of users, such as Pengyou.com, 51.com, renren etc…
Communicate quickly and efficiently
Becoming popular among Chinese social networks is a never-ending task and requires your content to be constantly updated. You must be attentive to the latest trends and significant events. Keep in mind that your goal is to see your publications attract heaps of comments and be shared around the social media circle. In May, two of the most popular Chinese actors, Fan Bing Bing (范冰冰) and Li Chen (李晨) have confirmed their relationship by posting a photo simply titled “We”. This post went viral and brands, Chinese and international, (such as Xiaomi or Mac Donald’s) have created their own “#We” to capitalize on the social network frenzy.
Wechat Store , an opportunity for E-Commerce companies
Having a Wechat store is a great opportunity to sell your products on Wechat to your customers. Many experts on Chinese internet marketing explain that it is the future of the E-Commerce.
Stay focused on quality content
The Chinese do not follow brands because they appreciate them. Rather, because they publish quality content which is relevant to the customers. Also, be aware that the information you send out shouldn’t be overly promotional,: a mistake which is all too common among Western brands. Companies should find an equilibrium between informing and persuading to garner the best results
Check this article, Why you need to focus on Quality of content on Wechat
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