Any classic “Business in China 101” course will be quick to mention the traditional two-handed business card delivery. Yet like much else in modern China, these lessons are quickly losing relevancy. While formal business events will see the obligatory business card exchange, many Chinese won’t even carry a business card to everyday meetings, instead opting for a simple scan of a WeChat QR code.
This changing habit was quantified in last week’s release of the 2017 WeChat User & Business Ecosystem Report by Tencent’s Penguin Research. The study found of WeChat’s 889 million monthly active users, 83% use it for work. One of the most notable changes from the 2016 report is the number of contacts users have. In the space of 12 months, the average increased from 128 to 194. 57% of new contacts are work-related and 44% of users have more than 200 contacts.
While the 26-35 age bracket remains the most dominant, it isn’t solely the youngins in the office who are using it. Age distribution has shifted from previous years, with a greater share of all users now in the 26-60 age group.
The relevancy of this news is clear not only for B2B companies, but also B2C brands. The importance of B2B communications is often underestimated by consumer brands. There are very few in China who don’t need education channels and the means to keep their products and services top of mind with agents, distributors, front-line staff and other partners.
Whilst WeChat may be the channel of choice for many business people, it isn’t just a case of saturating personal Moments feeds with information. The preference for seeing work-related content on Moments dropped from 33% to 23.6% over the past 12 months. The beauty of WeChat is that it allows a plethora of functions to be built in, enabling everything from stock ordering and management to tutorials and quizzes, and much, much more. These functions can help in making any work-related content not only palatable but interesting, engaging and scalable. Any marketing strategy should consider the all-important B2B channels, something that agencies like China Skinny can assist with. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.