Archives for posts with tag: internet

WeChat had more mobile transactions over just Chinese New Year than PayPal had during 2015

The scale of social and messaging platforms in China is at its peak on Chinese New Year, as statistics on usage of platforms such as WeChat and Weibo reveal.

According to WeChat, owned by digital media business Tencent, 420 million people sent each other lucky money via the app’s payment service on the eve of Chinese New Year. According to WeChat, it has seen a total of 8.08 billion red envelopes sent so far for Chinese New Year, eight times more than last year. 

To put this into context, according to PayPal it made 4.9 billion transactions in 2015 (half of the number of transactions made on WeChat just for Chinese New Year) and only 28 per cent were made on a mobile device.

The lunar new year festivities spread to the UK this year, with many foreign brands taking to the streets and online to help people celebrate. But it is the digital channels that are changing the shape of celebrations in Asia.

According to the data from Tencent, women were more generous as 56.5 per cent of senders were female.

One significant difference in the digital version of the tradition seems to be the amount being sent. The statistics revealed that the most popular amount gifted was RMB 8.88 ($1.35), (eight is a lucky number). This is a lot lower than would be gifted in envelopes in person and is likely to be a lot lower than the average transaction amount on a platform like PayPal.

See the full article from the Drum here.

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Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat are the platforms that get most of marketers’ love in the U.S., but digital practitioners could learn a thing or two from WeChat, China’s booming mobile app that’s one of a growing number of messaging apps brands are watching closely.

The Chinese app boasts more than 600 million users, and some reports claim more than 50 percent of those users open it 10 times a day. While that still pales in comparison to Facebook’s 1 billion daily global users, Tencent-owned WeChat has a tight grip on China’s social and mobile industry compared with competitors like Line and Viber.

Thomas Graziani, co-founder of Chinese agency WalktheChat, which specializes in WeChat marketing spoke with Adweek about how marketing and advertising works on WeChat, which has significant differences from U.S.-based platforms.

A few things marketers should know about WeChat:

It’s the Facebook of China… but more
To grasp WeChat as a marketing platform, it’s important to first understand how the app works and why people use it.

In the U.S., the average smartphone user opens a handful of apps every day to text friends, check email, use social media and take pictures. In China, WeChat is all of those apps rolled into one and is sometimes the only app consumers use.

Here is a short list of things the app lets folks do:

  • Message friends
  • Pay bills and manage their bank accounts
  • Order food
  • Buy clothes and movie tickets
  • Book cabs
  • Make doctor’s appointments
  • Post to social media
  • Send money to friends
  • Check in for flights
  • Read news

Getting onto the platform takes some know-how

There are two options for building a brand following on WeChat: a subscription account that lets brands push out one message per day and a service account that caps the number of brand messages to one a week. Both require setting up an account.

With subscription accounts, brands can push out consistent messaging, which WalktheChat recommends for marketers that already have a strong content-marketing strategy.

Service accounts, on the other hand, reach more people but can’t be used as often by marketers. According to Graziani, these accounts are better suited for brands that want to do more than use the platform for branding—including e-commerce and customer service.

In either case, it’s hard to break through the clutter, and the app requires brands to act more like users than marketers.

“Because people spend all their time on it, it’s extremely competitive to get attention from people,” Graziani said. “The platform is not making it easy for brands to reach users.”

Similar to how digital marketers approached Facebook years ago, brands strive for a lot of followers because WeChat is a numbers game.

See the full article form AdWeek here.

Alibaba has been on an acquisition spree, most recently with a Hong Kong newspaper:

China’s Alibaba confirmed that it has “entered into a definite agreement to acquire” the struggling Hong Kong-based newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP). It includes all the assets of the SCMP Group, which includes stakes in some web startups. The financial terms are not disclosed.

“The South China Morning Post is unique because it focuses on coverage of China in the English language. This is a proposition that is in high demand by readers around the world who care to understand the world’s second largest economy,” said Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, in a statement. “Our vision is to expand the SCMP’s readership globally through digital distribution and easier access to content.”

Alibaba’s buy-out of the SCMP is the latest in many big moves into media and content by the ecommerce titan. A few months ago, Alibaba paid out US$4.2 billion to acquire China’s top video site company, Youku Tudou. It runs the Youku and Tudou sites, which combine user-generated content with licensed movies and TV series. It also has a film studio.

Tsai explained their decision to the sub-100,000 readership of the SCMP: “So, you’re probably wondering why. Why is Alibaba buying into traditional media, considered by some a sunset industry? The simple answer is that we don’t see it that way.” He adds that SCMP will continue to focus on “editorial excellence” and keeping readers’ trust as it adapts to fit in with fast-evolving new media and the way news is read via social media. No specific plans are revealed.

The newspaper was founded in 1903. Alibaba is acquiring it from Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok’s Kerry Media, which bought the controlling interest from News Corp in 1993. The SCMP has a paywall, but its slowly rising digital revenues are not making up for tanking print sales.

See the full article from TechinAsia here.

Alibaba also recently invested in music streaming- see more here.

Tencent first became known for its instant messenger service and games, and is now one of the biggest tech firms in the world. The WSJ’s Wayne Ma explains how Tencent got so big.

See video here.

Holiday Inn recently released a new campaign which is gaining lots of praise across China.

The brand sought to freshen up its image and wanted a campaign that would speak to a clientele split equally between business travelers and families. The campaign also had to make the brand’s global proposition about “the joy of travel for everyone” resonate in China and stand out creatively in a country where tourism has exploded and people are being exposed to more hotel brands.

The result is a film about a business traveler and a family traveler who are the same person – the mom.

The solution was actually inspired by the personal experience of the brand’s chief marketer. Emily Chang, Greater China chief commercial officer for the parent company, InterContinental Hotels Group, told a story about getting heart-rending messages from her daughter during business trips. So Ms. Chang surprised her – instead of taking her to a piano lesson, they went for an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn.

HolidayInn_Moments of Joy_1-thumb-400x312-201187

“We often talk about this phrase, ‘Work-life balance.’ It’s interesting because that depicts the seesaw, work’s on one side, life’s on the other,” Ms. Chang said. “I think for these travelers, they’re not one or the other, they’re fully integrated.”

The film also resonates in a country where working moms are the norm (and where, like everywhere, mothers are conflicted about whether they’re spending enough quality time with their kids.) About 72% of Chinese women ages 25-34 with children under age 6 are employed, according to the All-China Women’s Federation.

The video is being pushed out online, and the brand also bought airtime during some of the most-watched Chinese TV shows, singing contest “The Voice of China” and “Dad, Where Are We Going?” a reality show about celebrity dads roughing it in rural locations with their kids. Because both those shows feature real, personal stories, the brand thought they would catch consumers in the right frame of mind to receive Holiday Inn’s message.

See the video and full story from AdAge here.

“Five-year plans” may sound like rusty Communist lingo – but in China they are matters of real importance as they outline government plans for the following 5 years. The plans set a direction for the country’s economy, social development targets, and – judging from this year’s iteration – online video view count.

China’s five-year plans are typically heralded by a series of glowing articles in state media. But not this year, it seem the Chinese Communist party has decided to release a psychedelic video promoting the new plan.

The video was realised earlier this week on Twitter. As Twitter is blocked in China, putting the video on that platform implies that it is specifically meant for those outside of the country. The video does represent an odd change in pace for Chinese propaganda. Conventionally, films or videos praising the Communist Party were produced for domestic Chinese consumption. But over the past several months, there have been more examples of pro-CCP (Chinese Communist Party) videos aimed at foreign audiences.

Lets see if this video gives them the credibility they were seeking…

A recent partnership between Chinese internet giants Alibaba and Tencent has pointed to an effort to squeeze the third largest player, Baidu, out of the market.

Recent evidence of this can be seen in the group buying market, though dwindling in the west this model is booming in China. Groupon-type platforms have been growing and according to research firm Analysys International, bargain hunters spent 77 billion yuan (US$12.1bill) in sales through group buying sites in the first half of this year.

Now a merging of Alibaba supported Meituan and Tencent backed Dianping means a single player will have around 80% of the market (Meituan is estimate at about half, Dianping at around 30%). The combined business could be worth US$15 billion.

MD1

The new merged entity would squash rival group-buying site Nuomi, fully owned by Baidu. This deal seems to signify an escalation in movement to push Baidu out of the market. Alibaba and Tencent also merged their taxi-hailing business to form Didi Kuaidi, the largest local taxi sharing app, while Baidu gives financial backing to US brand Uber.

These two recent partnerships of rivals who still compete head-to-head in entertainment, e-commerce and even banking will provide a united front in some of the fastest growing segments. But will this be enough to push Baidu completely out of the picture?

See Bloomberg’s thoughts on the topic here.