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China in your pocket – Top Chinese Social Media apps 2019

The recent economic growth that China has experienced makes China market irresistible. The rise of technology development and increased consumption have all been fundamental to the changing landscape of Social Medias in China.

However, Google, Twitter, Facebook and other giant Social Medias are banned in China due to internet censorship laws. With business across the globe using just Western Social Medias to reach new customers in China, entering this new market without Chinese Social Medias might lack the ability to track local trends in real-time.

In this article, UKLEJU will introduce you to the most popular Chinese social media apps. Tracking and observing marketing performances on Chinese social media is important for global business to build a deeper understanding of local perceptions and values.

According to a Chinese government study, over 800 million people in China are now active online users, this amounts to 57.7% of the country’s population. Even more incredible is the fact that 98% of Chinese people are mobile devices users, compared that with just 83% in the UK and 73% in the US.
So read more below to determine which ones are right for you:


Baidu: Google in China

Baidu is a large search engine platform in China, which is considered equivalent to Google. Through the search bar, it features similar services such as query suggestion, instant search and more in-depth answers. User can get access to different language resources and recommended web searches, as well as providing its own means of the social network.
It is worth noticing that Baidu is considered the most censored platform in China, especially among China’s educated audiences.

Why Baidu is so special for global marketers?

Keyword-based discussion forum – Baidu Tieba
Under Baidu, there is a keyword-based discussion forum called Baidu Tieba. This forum covers nearly every topic imaginable, users can create individual “Tieba” for each distinct topic with a dedicated moderator for each “Tieba.”

 

PPC campaign – Lower cost advertising solution
Compared to Google, what makes Baidu a more appealing platform for business is its PPC campaign. PPC campaigns rapidly bring quality traffic to the individual business website, enhancing visitor numbers, generation enquiries and driving online conversions and sales. Pay Per Click advertising solutions offer a fast, effective form of digital promotion. This function is similar to the Google AdWords search engine but has a lower cost.

 

WeChat: Facebook of China

WeChat is an all-in-one messaging app developed by Tencent, and can be used for transferring money, shopping, for flights booking, creating posts on their Newsfeed (called WeChat Moments), etc. The monthly active users of WeChat is over 1 billion, in comparison to Facebook’s 2 billion worldwide, whereas WeChat’s user base is concentrated heavily in China.

Why WeChat is so special for global marketers?

One to one personalised interaction
WeChat provides user different types of accounts, personal private account and business public account. WeChat business allows brand to communicate directly with their followers through the messaging function on their account. This type of account remained open to provide direct customer services and to post promotional information to attract more new followers.

 

WeChat advertising tool

Additionally. WeChat launched “WeChat advertising”, allowing all companies to advertise their brands on WeChat with banner ads, KOL advertisements, and moment’s ad.

 

WeChat QR code

The app is linked to Alipay, a QR code payment platform. Users can make payment easily through QR code. QR codes might be unpopular in Western countries, but it is still widely used in China. Mobile users often scan for promotion, passwords or to follow a brand. To gain more followers, QR codes are essential.

Sina Weibo: Twitter of China

Weibo is the Chinese version of Twitter. This microblogging platform has nearly 116.7 daily active users, remained one of the most powerful tools on the Chinese market. In terms of audience, Weibo has a much more public audience, with news posts produced from official sources.

Why Weibo is so special for global marketers?

 

Consumer reviews
Many businesses- both local and international rely on Weibo as a source of consumer reviews and use this platform as a place to enlarge their customer communities.

Collaboration with Alibaba, to introduce a new payment system

Like any other social media, Sina Weibo has tried to remain competitive by diversifying its services. They collaborated with Chinese giant Alibaba, which owns 31.4% stake in the company to introduce a payment system to Weibo.

Red: Instagram and Pinterest in China

Red, all known as Little Red Book is an e-commerce platform for the user or well-known personnel to share product reviews, travel blogs and personal lifestyle stories via short videos and photos.
Unlike other sharing apps, Red focused on the quality of the content, and the endorsements from high-profile influencers have been instrumental in its success, with more than 100 million users as of May 2018.

What makes Little Red book so special for global marketers?

Truly user-centric app with only KOL (KEY OPINION LEADERS) campaigns
First of all, the app is relentless non-commercial, which means that no official brand and advertisement is permitted on the platform.
This allows Little Red Book’s user to trust that all of the recommendations and endorsements from other users are genuine. Instead of using commercial ads, Red offers perfect KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) campaigns within a huge loyal community. This type of campaigns can easily influence the users into buying products that the users displayed and liked.

Deep-rooted UGC (User-generated content) shopping sharing community
Think of Red as a combination of Instagram and Pinterest, user can save posts they like, interact with content and other users. Users will also receive added bonus of in-app purchasing. This sharing platform built a highly-engaged community and offered more lengthy, premium detailed blog-post type content.

Himalaya: BBC radio of China

Himalaya is a one of a kind podcast platform, audio content network and original production studio for podcasters, and engaged with a community of podcasts listeners. They owned 5 million podcasters that post everything from news, music, novels to language training content.

Himalaya is #1 in its category (books) on the Apple App Store and has a 4.9/5 rating. This platform allows users to listen anywhere and although audio takes up more data than text, it still uses up a lot less data than video, which suits current smartphone data plans in China.
What makes Himalaya so special for global marketers?

User’s distribution

(Source from Nanjing Marketing Group)

47% of app users are female, 53% male. Overall, Himalaya’s users are mainly the younger generation. This generation tends to have high spending power.

 

Diverse language

Through Himalaya is a Chinese platform, most content is in Mandarin, but the app accepts content in any languages.

 

Young Chinese people like to “listen to radio.”

(Source from Nanjing Marketing Group)

For young people, audio is the best way to learn. Audio provides the lowest cost for information absorption. On the other hand, Himalaya gives its users the freedom to customise their content and grow their audience organically.

 

Tik Tok: Youtube and Snapchat of China


Tik Tok is the global version of a social media app released in September 2016 named Douyin. The app is based on a global video community, with its users sharing videos for 15s-60s, on nearly every topic imaginable. The app includes a wide array of tools, filters, and music to make self-created videos appear incredibly professional, encouraging users to create content themselves and further engage with the platform.

Tik Tok was able to reach a major milestone last year with it becoming the most downloaded app on both The Google Play and Apple App Store, keeping up its growth with the platform now seeing over 250 million daily users in 2019.

 

What makes Tik Tok so special for global marketers?

 

Creative visual platform
15 seconds video is an effective visual material to promote your business’s brand and ideas, grab people attention and awake their interest. By recording one’s day-to-day life and sharing unique points of view, insights, and stories via vlogs, business leaders and entrepreneurs can boost their personal brands and fill an unsatisfied educational, motivational or entertainment niche in the industry.

 

Very young generation audiences

With the average age of TikTok users being 13 to 24 years old, mostly female. Tik Tok has the potential of being a major platform like Instagram and Snapchat and shouldn’t be easily dismissed. The app is still in its uncertain stages, but the number of users joining is impressive.

However, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Chinese internet censorship is considered to be among the strictest in the world. This complicates the social media landscape for Western companies looking to expand into China by using social media.

With that in mind, it is important that the business takes a closer look at each social media platform and must investigate in mind differences in Chinse culture before creating the content for your campaigns.

Our bilingual (English/Chinese) based online property portal, UKLEJU is active on different social media platforms to ensure the maximum exposure to a qualified audience in China. We used both Western and Chinese social Media for full-spectrum online marketing and branding, we manage to gain valuable traffic and to raise brand awareness, resulting in more on-going social media operations. Social media platforms act as a big part for bridging the cultural gap between China, the UK and the rest of Asia for UKLEJU.

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