Mass urban migration, the one-child policy and opening up to the world have all had an enormous impact in shaping modern China. WeChat has hit a sweet spot addressing some of the challenges that have resulted from the changes.
WeChat reunites families separated by the exodus to cities, connects and entertains lonely only children, and links the millions of Chinese who travel, study and migrate abroad every month. This is evident from the tens of billions of messages sent, and the 280 million minutes of video and voice calls made on the app every day. Yet WeChat’s influence in transforming Chinese society spans far beyond its communication features.
China has some of the highest mobile Internet usage rates in the world. Remarkably, more than half of the time spent online on smartphones is on WeChat. In many cases, it has become the default way Chinese communicate, network and entertain themselves, and its increasingly changing the way they transact. With around 80% of users following a brand on WeChat, it has also become a formidable marketing tool. Businesses have been quick to adapt, with more than a fifth of Chinese companies having WeChat accounts. Just four years since WeChat launched, there are now over 6 million official company accounts.
With WeChat touching so many parts of urban Chinese’ daily lives, Tencent has accumulated an enviable suite of insights into how Chinese consumers go about their day. The countless Chinese consumers who diarise their lives on WeChat’s Moments provide Tencent the ability to track when the population is happy or sad, where they are going on holiday, and what pop culture is hot. It can tell what time they go for their daily walk. It can gauge consumer’s interests by which WeChat articles they read. It can even dissect Chinese consumers’ routines from morning to night.
Until last week, Tencent had been very guarded with this information. But not long after announcing that it was leveraging WeChat data to help JD.com compete with Alibaba on Single’s Day, it released some fascinating insights into WeChat’s 570 million users. We’ve translated this data and presented it in an infographic. It provides an intriguing view into Chinese consumers, particularly when combined with other insights. Click here to see it.
For our Australasian readers, China Skinny’s Mark Tanner will be New Zealand and Australia early next month talking about WeChat and all things China. On Monday 9 November, he’ll be in Auckland joining the esteemed line up at the China Business Summit. On 11 and 13 November, Mark will be in Sydney and Melbourne moderating the Australian Business Forum’s China Digital Conference. It’s the third year we’ve attended the event as it’s always well organised, with excellent speakers and great attendees. Click here for more information. We hope to see you at one of the events. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.