We chat about WeChat: Part One

We chat about WeChat: Part One

Facebook. Instagram. YouTube. Google.

Due to China’s strict internet censorship laws, these otherwise ubiquitous brands hold no sway in the world’s most populated nation.

Many Chinese companies have tried to step up to fill that void with a variety of unique and innovative features.

But in 2011, Tencent developed the multi-purpose platform that now towers above the local competition – WeChat.

In our two-part series, I will provide insights from 10 years of using and working with what is a crucial platform for any organisation looking to do business in or with China.

WeChat does more than meet a growing demand for social media functionality, with its impressive suite of features giving WeChat a prominent role in the daily lives of China’s citizens.

The platform at the heart of China’s social media ecosystems offers users everything they could need, ranging from standard features like instant messaging, voice calls and broadcasting to booking a doctor’s appointment, booking and planning for a vacation, making payments, buying clothes and movies as well as playing video games with friends.

It has become one of the world’s largest standalone online mobile apps, with more than a billion monthly active users – with every activity traced, analysed and shared with the Chinese government.

WeChat’s enormous user base has attracted the interest of some of the world’s most exclusive brands, collaborating with fashion label Burberry to stream its fall runway shows in 2014, fashion designer Michael Kors, cosmetics giant L'Oréal.

With 78 per cent of people in China aged 16 to 64 using WeChat, compared to 66 per cent of Australians in the same age range who use Facebook, it’s easy to see why these brands would use it to advertise and sell their products.

The Chinese social media market is the highest potential, fastest growing, and most active in the world, but foreign companies wanting to operate within it need to understand how it differs from Western equivalents and adjust their targets accordingly.

One of the key differences is the role of reviews in purchasing decisions, with Chinese consumers much more likely to be influenced by the views and opinions of those within their social circle.

Another is the increasing prominence of regional platforms and mini-programs.

Once cultural and language barriers have been overcome, and with the right guidance and understanding of the platform, content and strategies from Western platforms can be applied on WeChat and vice versa.

If done correctly, WeChat can provide unique access to consumers in China and in Chinese communities living abroad.

In part two of our WeChat series, I will go into more detail on business opportunities on the app, potential risks and the future development of social media and business.

 

Translated to Mandarin:

Facebook。Instagram。YouTube。谷歌。

由于中国严格的互联网审查法,这些本应被广泛使用的社交品牌在中国 -世界上人口最多的国家并没有发挥其应具有的影响力。因此,诸多中国公司曾试图通过研发各种独特且 创新的软件来填补这一空白。

终于,在2011年,腾讯公司正式推出一款支持即时消息发送,跨操作系统且仅需消耗少量网络流量就可免费发送的即时通信软件-微信。 

对于正在寻求以快速有效的方式进入中国市场的企业组织来说,微信无疑成为至关重要的平台。在本期微信故事(一)中,我将总结过去十年对微信软件的使用感以及些许个人见解。 

微信不单满足了人们对社交媒体功能日益增长的需求,同时其令人印象深刻的功能套件使其在日常生活中发挥了突出作用。

作为中国社交媒体生态系统的核心,从即时通讯、语音通话和新闻阅读等标准功能到预约医生、计划假期、生活支付、商品采购以及与朋友玩视频游戏等多元化功能,微信平台为中国用户提供了日常生活所需要的一切。

微信已经成为世界上最大的独立在线移动应用程序之一,拥有超过10亿的月度活跃用户--其每项活动都被追踪、分析并与中国政府共享。

微信广泛的用户群体吸引了世界上一些独特品牌的青睐。譬如,在2014年与时尚品牌巴宝莉(Burberry)合作,成功上线巴宝莉秋季时装秀App;轻奢时尚品牌Michael Kors于2017年在微信公众号正式开通奢侈品行业首个服务类小程序;化妆品巨头欧莱雅也相继于2018年在微信正式上线品牌小程序,开启社交电商运营模式。在中国,有78%的用户正在使用微信,年龄段从16岁至64岁不等,这使得我们更加容易理解为什么这些品牌会利用微信来宣传和销售他们的产品。

中国的社交媒体市场是世界上潜力最大、增长最快、最活跃的市场,想要在其中运作的海外公司不仅需要了解它与西方同类市场的不同之处,且应适当的对市场目标以及受众群体进行调整。

值得大家注意的是,产品的口碑在消费者的购买决策中起着至关重要的作用,中国消费者更易受其社交圈内人的观点和意见的影响。

此处不得不提的是区域平台和小程序的地位日益突出。

一旦克服了文化和语言障碍,在正确的指导和对平台监管制度的理解下,西方平台的内容和策略或将可以巧妙的与微信应用平台相结合,反之亦然。

如果操作得当,微信将为中国与生活在国外的华人消费者建立独特的沟通渠道。与此同时,微信的成功表明只要我们在平台,切入口,社交网络和品牌的建设上坚持移动先行, 就可以创造更多的奇迹。

在微信系列的第二部分,我将更详细地介绍该软件产品的商业机会、潜在风险以及社交媒体和商业的未来发展。

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