The vast majority of Chinese tourists have already made purchasing decisions for foreign products before they travel, according to findings from Tencent International Business Group (IBG).
Tencent IBG shared these finding earlier this year during a seminar given in Hong Kong about updates its Weixin/WeChat platform, and share key insights to effectively leverage these to tap into the Mainland Chinese market
Importantly, this is influenced by the advertisements and promotions on social platforms, which Tencent IBG thinks is not fully leveraged by marketers. After all, mobile ads in China currently only make up between 1% and 1.5% of total advertising spend, which represents a huge opportunity for brands to tap into.
This trend is mostly supported by the rise of mobile and the Internet, said Tencent. Indeed, smartphones usage continues to increase in China, with the number of online shoppers in China reaching 374 million at the end of last year, and accounting for a staggering RMB 3,800 billion (US$579 billion) in sales.
Tencent’s research arm annually releases a detailed report with behavior data of the WeChat users. Some of the highlights of the 2016 report include:
- 70% of users spend more than RMB 100 per month shopping on WeChat
- WeChat news consumtion is higher than both stand alone news websites and TV combined
- 61% of WeChat users login to WeChat and are active 10 or more times per day
- 28% of users have more than 200 friends, that’s a 50% increase since 2015.
- 61.4% of users check “moments” every time they open WeChat
Not surprisingly, Tencent IBG suggested that Weixin (WeChat) – the company’s social networking app that is part Facebook and part Instagram and messaging platform, are ideal candidates to help brands to elevate how they engage with consumers.
This works because 90% of Chinese mobile users are already on these platform, says Tencent IBG, and allows brands to bridge the gap between Hong Kong brands and the China market.
“With WeChat, brands no longer need to spend time building their own websites,” said Poshu Yeung, the general manager of Tencent IBG. “According to our analysis, 80% of Chinese tourists already know what is on their shopping list before arriving in Hong Kong. This shows the potential value of WeChat to brands in influencing consumers purchasing decisions.”
WeChat comes fully loaded with a wide range of user features:
“Tencent is the leading supplier of value-added internet services in China and provides services including Weixin and WeChat, QQ, Tencent News and Tencent Games,” noted Norman Tam, the general manager of Tencent Hong Kong and Taiwan. “More than 90% of mobile users in China use its social platforms, which represents a huge amount of potential customers to marketers.”
According to Tam, these services help bridge the gap between businesses and end users, and transforms the way brands approach marketing. Among others, he pointed to how WeChat allow brands to communicate with their audiences through a range of interactive media.
So why is WeChat so insanely popular?
Check out this vide Produced by: JONAH M. KESSEL and PAUL MOZUR for The New York Times
WeChat isn’t like any western messaging app. For starters, it’s not just a messaging platform. Think WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Skype mashed together.
Instead, WeChat contains ten million third-party apps. Nearly any organisation or company can make an app, known as an “official account,” on WeChat — media companies, banks, celebrities, brands, and startups all have their own accounts. Individuals with accounts can access APIs for features like direct messaging, voice messaging, payments, and location.
WeChat accounts have become so popular, Chan says, that some startups even test their apps by launching on WeChat before creating a standalone app.
Once you’re inside WeChat’s app, you can hail a cab, manage your credit card bills, check the news, and more, all from within the main app. It’s this app-within-an-app functionality that has led WeChat to find success. WeChat is almost like a browser, with each individual official account acting like a web page, Chan notes.
In addition, one in five WeChat users use WeChat’s payments feature. Users upload their baking information or credit card number and can buy products or services from any official account in WeChat’s app.
WeChat’s innovations — particularly its mobile-first, app-within-an-app model — make other messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger seem rather primitive in comparison.
All-in WeChat is a robust and undeniably huge platform offering international brands and business a wide variety of options to target Chinese consumers.
To get started with your WeChat strategy for China, fill in the form below and get the best advice and options for your China mobile social marketing campaigns.