After I back from Europe, today is my 4th day of working in our Shanghai office, with all the new office design and operational things going on (We are moving in beginning of SEP, excited!), and a lot more media interviews and meetings, finally I got some time to sit down and write my weekly column about my experience and insights of the China market.

As a rapidly advancing technological nation, one of China’s most outstanding features is its widespread and unified use of social media across the country. 

Photo: imtmphoto/Shutterstock

While many social media networks in countries such as the United States have gone in and out of fashion in the 21st century, China’s digital ecosystem is evolving and being just remarkable for maintaining several dominant social media forces to this day. Chinese consumers tend to follow the same decision-making journey as their peers in other countries, so if you can learn some more about China social media landscape, you can improve your marketing strategy to attract more Chinese FITs. 

Social Media Eco-System Landscape in China is much more diversify

According to the“China Social Media Impact Report 2017” , which was released on June 6, it showed the latest developments in China’s rapidly evolving social media landscape, with better understanding about the “Transformation” in the market, brands and marketers can improve and optimise their strategy. We can see from the above chart, Social Business, UGC and Functional APPs are 3 categories that every brands and marketers worth to take a look if they want to explore Chinese market. Currently WeChat & Weibo still the two most important APPs for brands from my perspectives, but we need to keep closely an eye on the rising one such as Jinri Toutiao (a news aggregation app), or Douyin (a short-video and live streaming app). 

WeChat: An all-in-one giant

WeChat is perhaps the most distinguished platform in the country, WeChat is the Chinese citizen’s most common access point to social media and, as a result, it contains the heavy majority of online content and marketing. Its claim to over a billion active users per month is certainly nothing to ignore, “889 million MAUs, 10 million+ official accounts and 200K+ third-party developers. In the past 7 years, WeChat has established an extensive ecosystem centering this mega messenger application, and becomes a vital part of China’s mobile internet today.” – Tech Crunch China. In order to achieve this number, WeChat has rolled features that tend to be the sole focus of different apps into one multipurpose app, including features such as the messaging features of WhatsApp, the posting capabilities of Facebook, and a quick and convenient mobile payment system and a brand new “Mini-APP Ecosystem” which enable brands to develop their mini-app within the WeChat eco-system relatively more easy. 

Picture 1: STW赏游WeChat Official Account front page enable links with Mini-program, Picture 2: STW赏游WeChat Official Account inside page enable links with mini program, Picture 3: STW赏游Mini-program city page (Personalised city page based on your check-in location and show the distance (KM) from the place you are at the moment). Picture 4: From your personal feed, your saved mini-program always on top which convenient for users to reused the Mini-program for their next destination. We are the first batch of WeChat Mini-program which launched in April 2017.

How does WeChat Mini-program enhance conversion?

Mini-program is built completely within WeChat, they are usually speedy (in terms of loading speed) and smoother (in terms of UX, integration with WeChat features and navigation). As we all know that there are many KOLs are having issue about how to convert their content to become conversion? WeChat mini-program solve this problem, with the mini-program, now it is possible to link from a Subscription Account article to a mini-program, increasing conversion rates. With all of these versatile and accessible features, WeChat has ultimately been able to drive tens of billions of dollars in mobile data consumption. Above picture demonstrate how STW赏游content team integrated mini-program in our regular marketing articles. 

It is a threat to APP Market?

Actually it could however right now the size of each mini-program is restricted to 2M while the average file size is 38MB for iOS mobile apps and 15MB for Android mobile apps. (source from: China Internet Watch Website) *** , if you want to learn more about mini-program articles, this article may help you. 

Weibo: A link between consumers and creators

While WeChat has made its fortune by offering features from a variety of platforms, Weibo has found success by focusing on the interactions between Chinese consumers and Chinese content creators. With over 600 million users already registered — 411 million of those being active users — Weibo has solidly established itself as a major player in China’s social media hierarchy. Much like WeChat, Weibo attracts the majority of its audience on mobile phones, with over 90% of its traffic and over 380 million of its active users coming from mobile devices. Due to its focus on content creation, many companies have found it to be an ideal connection point to the Chinese consumer with over 400,000 businesses maintaining an active presence on the platform and as a result, Weibo makes almost 80% of its $1 billion revenue through major companies and other forms of ad presence.

However, as many media reported “Weibo & Wechat are no longer enough to serve the needs of social media marketing for brands in China.”- Jing Daily Media, there are few raising APPs from the social media landscape you need to take a look. 

The rise of smaller Chinese media platforms (Toutiao & Douyin)

While the majority of China’s online media is dominated by a few major giants, the industry has shown in recent years that it has more than enough room for smaller, more niche platforms. One particularly interesting example of this is Toutiao, a news content website based in Beijing; while print media is often seen as an industry primarily geared towards older consumers internationally, Toutiao has managed to amass over 120 million active daily users. Another instance of social media targeting a mass-market is Douyin, a music video platform just launched in 2016. Despite an intentionally small target audience, Douyin has quickly become one of the fastest growing apps in China and boasts over 150 million active daily users.

Countries begin moving on Chinese social media worldwide

Chinese social media has been able to maintain several media giants over the past decade. Thanks to the dominance and accessibility of their platforms to consumers and businesses alike, Chinese social networks offer their own unique and irresistible chances for businesses to connect with the Chinese market and vice versa. The incredible potential for tourism outreach offered by these media giants is already becoming apparent across the world. According to data released at the end of 2017, several countries have already begun capitalizing. Destination Canada has already amassed more than 2 million views of its online content on WeChat, while New Zealand – a country which typically has an undersized social media presence – ranked 5th in the report as a result of its strong and trendy outreach strategy. Meanwhile on Weibo, overseas tourism organizations have been reporting a high impact rating on the website as early as 2014. With many nations beginning to expand their tourism presence to China, now is the perfect time for European businesses and tourism offices alike to begin doing the same.