Forward-looking brands that want to reach more customers through eCommerce sales should take note of the Chinese market. By 2021 estimates, over 60% of the population, or more than 850 million Chinese people, use the Internet, compared to only 300 million in the United States. Of those 850 million, over 673.5 million are active social media users, making China the largest social media market in the world.
Chinese social media users don’t use platforms simply for socializing. The biggest platforms have evolved into major eCommerce sites that are incredibly popular among Chinese shoppers, for learning about products, seeking recommendations, and sharing opinions. Chinese consumers respond well to sales and promotions on these platforms, especially during the big shopping festivals, which happen almost monthly. People spend hours and hours online, looking for favorite items at affordable prices and shopping for deals of a lifetime.
To maximize sales through these platforms, brands need to stay on top of the latest eCommerce trends and create branding strategies that are appropriately geared to the Chinese market. Knowing the ins and outs of the top social media platforms and how they’re being used to promote and sell products can help brands make strong inroads into the Chinese market, gain brand awareness, and increase sales.
With 1.2 billion monthly active users, it’s no surprise WeChat is known as the Super App. What began as an instant messaging app in 2011 has become an all-in-one ecosystem that users rely on to play games, order food, call a taxi, book movie tickets, make digital payments, and much more. It continues to be a major social networking app, with 38 billion messages exchanged and 68 million videos uploaded every single day. Brands and businesses are active on WeChat as well, and account for over 20 million official WeChat accounts. These pages are used to connect with and update customers, send notifications and promotions and, ultimately, convert engagement into sales. WeChat functionality assists brands by detecting user location, so companies can target potential nearby customers. WeChat is also a great place for HTML5 campaigns featuring games, quizzes and voting, to boost customer engagement in interactive ways, increase brand recognition and drive sales.
Weibo is the essential social media platform – the place people go to share news, trends, interact, and follow KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). In 2020, the site had 523 million total active users, and 224 million daily active users, 82% of which are avid online shoppers. Brands and businesses can engage and gather followers on Weibo just like individuals do. When posts are seen by enough users, they gain popularity on the hot-topic or super-topic community forums, which helps raise brand awareness and draw more followers to the brand. Weibo has recently seen a 50% increase in activity on its Yizhibo livestreaming platform as well. Promotional livestreams hosted by KOLs and celebrities are proving to be one of the best ways to generate sales. Brands can integrate eCommerce by linking directly to Taobao stores in their posts. Most Weibo users already have Alipay linked to their Weibo accounts, and can purchase products with a single click.
The QQ platform is the second most popular messaging app in China after WeChat. Launched in 1999 – notably, 5 years before Facebook – the platform has grown to 660 million active users in 2020 and handles over 13.6 billion messages daily. A favorite of younger users, 60% are under 30 years old and most live in 2nd and 3rd tier Chinese cities. Brands and businesses interested in reaching a younger, up-and-coming demographic with increasing spending power should know that these GenZ users spend nearly 4 hours per day on the app – messaging, playing online games, emailing, file-sharing, sending Snapchat style images and videos, and joining online chat groups. QQ has a music streaming feature, as well as a QQ dating service, and QQ users use the Qzone feature (similar to Facebook) to share posts with friends and engage with each other through news feeds.
Livestreaming and KOLs
Livestreaming is booming in China, especially on Taobao Live, the Alibaba Group’s flagship online shopping channel. The channel is making waves, and profits, as a dedicated portal that matches brands with livestream hosts, most of them KOLs. Chinese consumers love to tune in to watch celebrities and company heads talk about products and offer special promotions. The portal is eCommerce integrated, so customers can buy products while watching, take advantage of time-limited offers and participate in lucky draws. More than 300 stars, influencers, and KOLs, and over 600 CEOs participated in a recent shopping festival to showcase products and promote sales.
With so many powerful social media platforms, and so many ways of engaging Chinese consumers, launching a social media marketing campaign in China might seem like a big challenge. The Chinese eCommerce market, and the social media and shopping trends that are driving engagement and sales, warrant a closer look. These amazing tools are incredibly popular, well integrated, and can be easily leveraged to reach and connect with the Chinese audience. Businesses simply need to find the platform, and adopt the digital marketing strategy, that makes the most sense for them.
OTT Pay provides marketing services to help businesses reach more Chinese consumers. Visit our merchant centre at https://ottpay.com/marketing-solutions/