The State of Chinese Social Media in 2016: What You Need to Know
social media landscape is one of the most unique, fragmented and dynamic in the
world. In the 12 years that Kantar Media CIC has been analysing Chinese social
media, the rate of change has only gotten faster. Here we take the pulse of
China's social landscape and present five changes and developments that brands,
agencies and tech players should understand for 2016.
1. BATS, the core
of the China's social and digital landscape
Alibaba, Tencent and Sina (AKA 'BATS') together have upwards of eight different
social media and/or e-commerce platforms, each with hundreds of millions of
active users. They are the absolute core of China's social and digital
landscape because of their cumulative almost 4 billion users. These apps are at
the heart of making the Chinese Internet VIRAL, INFORMATIVE and PRACTICAL
(VIP). The "I" and the "P" are particularly important in differentiating China
from the rest of the world. Trusted Information in China can be scarce, while
the plentiful Information on social media such as news, word of mouth, and
rumours is often the type of content that cannot be found anywhere else. This
makes social media more important in China than most global markets. The
Practicality of Chinese social media is unmatched due to the deep integration
of payment solutions and services such as, Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's
Tenpay. For over 700 million netizens, WeChat is the go to platform not only
for e-commerce transactions, but also P2P transfer, bill payment and even
mutual fund investment. Nowhere else in the world is there a complete social
media ecosystem connecting internet word of mouth and payment so seamlessly.
E-commerce categories reflect the complexity of China's retail market
As the number of
consumers' increases, the desire for a wide variety of products grows as well.
Even today, some products are not always readily available offline or even on
some of the largest E-commerce platforms like Taobao, Tmall, JD and Yihaodian.
We are seeing an increasing number of E-commerce categories emerging in China.
Some of these new platforms include, group sales sites such as Nuomi (糯米) and Meituan (美团); flash sales
sites such as Glamour Sales (魅力惠); second hand
sales sites such as Xianyu(闲鱼); crowdfunding
sites such as JD Finance (京东众筹); O2O sites such
as ticketing service Gewara (格瓦拉) and cross boarder
retail platforms such as "Little Red Book(小红书)."
Now that payment
is so integrated with social media, we are seeing the boundary between social
media and E-commerce becoming blurred. Traditional E-commerce sites are
integrating social features such as Taobao's Weitao (微淘), Tmall's Fun
JD's Discover (发现),
and Yihaodian's Yipintang (一品堂). Not to mention,
social platforms integrating E-commerce, such as Little Red Book (小红书).
3. Video continues to rise as it fragments
video sites like Youku and iQiyi continue to be important platforms. These
platforms allow netizens to watch legal versions of local and imported long
form content like TV dramas. Recently, many other sites have started to
integrate Danmaku, the "rapid fire," in-time netizen commentary, where the text
appears right on your video screen. Danmaku was initially an innovation from
the original Danmaku sites, Acfun and Bilibili, which show more youthful
content like Anime, Cartoon and Games. Other video categories include short
video apps like Meipai and Miaopai. These two apps have recently become a
primary source of UGC on the social web. "Live" video broadcasting apps similar
to Periscope, including Panda TV and Zhanqi TV, have also gained traction with
consumers and even the watchful eye of government regulators. Brands like
Maybelline have started to use live video platforms to promote their products.
Maybelline quickly sold over 10,000 units of lipstick in two hours, via a live
video broadcast hosted by celebrity spokesperson @Angelababy.
reinvigorated with AMA as platform for deep engagement
Have you ever
wanted to ask a celebrity how much money she has? If you haven't, at least now
you have the option on "Ask Me Anything" sites like Fenda and Zhihu Live.
Recently, these platforms have gained significant traction.
For a fee
ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand RMB, Fenda allows netizens to ask
celebrities questions. Recently, celebrity Wang Sicong made over US$45,000 on
Fenda for answering questions involving his personal gossip. Another platform,
Zhihu Live provides a platform featuring experts from various industries. The
app launches private sessions which allow KOLs to share information and insight
with netizens. This gives netizens who are interested in certain categories the
ability to easily communicate with industry leaders. Brands can consider how to
utilize these sites to more effectively leverage their key opinion leaders
(KOL) and celebrities.
evolves with Wang Hong
rise of "Wang Hong" (网红)
has added a layer of complexity to the Key Opinion Leader (KOL) landscape. We
are now dividing KOL's into three basic categories: experts, "Wang Hong," and
Experts tend to
focus on their specific fields, like beauty or fashion, where they are able to
persuade and inform the masses with their expertise and experience. Wang Hong,
such as QKXLJ (呛口小辣椒)
focus on turning their online fame into an actual business. This is achieved by
creating unique personal brands. Wang Hong tap into their social media
following to promote and sell their products, leading to e-commerce sales that
could not have been achieved without their social media promotion. Wang Hong
are more willing to share their personal life on social platforms which can
make them seem more "authentic." Celebrities that are famous online and offline
command a premium price, yet do not appear as "authentic" as Wang Hong.
With this increasingly complex KOL landscape, brands need to pay more efforts
to obtain the right "fit" to optimize media impact.
In summary: the
China social landscape is unique, fragmented, and dynamic
these 5 trends is the everlasting trifecta of defining characteristics of the
China social media landscape mentioned earlier: unique, fragmented and dynamic.
In the West, you may be able to get away with a two platform strategy
consisting of Facebook and Google. However, in China, there are not only unique
platforms that do not exist anywhere else, but also multiple, overlapping
platforms, as well as, multiple, overlapping ecosystems all of which are in
constant flux. An environment like this requires persistent diligence in order
to understand, plan and execute for maximum and appropriate impact.
To find out more about the China Social Media
Landscape 2016 visit: http:www.cicdata.com/landscape
About Kantar Media CIC
Kantar Media is a global leader in media intelligence, providing clients with the data they need to make informed decisions on all aspects of media and social media measurement, monitoring and selection. Part of Kantar, the data investment management arm of WPP, Kantar Media provides the most comprehensive and accurate intelligence on media consumption, performance and value.
Asia-Pacific branch Kantar Media CIC is China's and regional leading social and digital business intelligence provider. The experts from Kantar Media CIC enable enterprises to fully leverage the power of social media and other Internet based big data intelligence across the organization. Since 2004, Kantar Media CIC has pioneered social technology, research and consulting. Founded as CIC, it was acquired by WPP's Kantar Media in 2012.
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