Talk about China’s remarkable digital consumer ecosystem is often dominated by ecommerce, WeChat and mobile payments. Whilst there’s no discounting their impact on the market, there are a host of other significant digital channels that are very relevant for Western brands looking to understand Chinese consumers and sell to them.
Have you heard of Kuaishou? It’s an Instagram-style photo sharing app with 400 million users which has evolved into a livestreaming and video platform. Kuaishou is valued at $18 billion, over three times more than mega-toy brand Mattel. The relevance of photo and video for Chinese consumers (and most consumers these days) should entice brands to consider the platform in their marketing mix.
Similarly Meituan-Dianping, best known as a restaurant and entertainment guide, is often likened to China’s version of Yelp, but is significantly hungrier with plans for ride sharing, hotel bookings and more. It has a market cap of $30 billion – a similar value to the West’s internet darling Airbnb. Foreign brands in the food, beverage, entertainment, lifestyle and tourism categories could be wise to take a look.
The current cool kid on the block Toutiao is most famous for its AI-powered news app with 120 million daily users. It also owns other apps such as the red hot Watermelon Video livestream quiz, musical.ly, and others. Much like Meituan-Dianping and Airbnb, Toutiao’s market cap is $30 billion.
Unlike a lot of the high valued tech companies of the past, many of China’s behemoths have healthy ways of making money. Chinese consumers are increasingly prepared to part with cash online, helped by the effortlessness of payment platforms. In fact, Chinese spent 270% more on apps in 2017 than 2015 – $35 billion. By comparison, American consumers spent $15 billion last year, a 75% increase over two years.
Chinese consumers’ obsession with apps is altering behaviour in almost every aspect of daily life in China -it is also shifting spending patterns. China’s big-spending online shopping females have finally been knocked from the top spot for digital spending by males, largely due to the explosion of gaming and, as a result, food delivery. That gives some hints to brands about another possible way to reach the often elusive Chinese male consumer.
They’re a few of the main ones – there are plenty more and then the fast-coming trends such as livestream quizzes and travelling frog games that are taking China by storm, all providing clues about how to unlock the potential of the mighty Chinese consumers.
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