by Richard Lucas March 2016
Most of the information in this article comes from an interview with Jenny Chen of WalktheChat (details below). Thanks to her for sharing her time.
WeChat is a leading mobile Chinese Social Media platform which combines the features of many of the most popular global social media and e-commerce platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Skype. As the name suggests – the basic function is Chat but users can also have a website, pay a bill, book a taxi, make a phone call (from January 2016 to landlines and mobiles), buy and sell, and play games. The mobile aspect is very important. For many users it is their gateway to the internet. Companies have official Wechat accounts. Games are big in China, and a lot of their users are gamers. The last time WeChat published figures they had 650 million active monthly users.
WeChat is relevant for both B2C and B2B businesses. Although it is primarily for the Chinese market, a lot of Chinese users living in other countries use it. Users can use WeChat Wallet to transfer money among friends without transaction fees. WeChat charges 0.6% transaction fee for businesses collecting money using WeChat payment. For more detailed and impressive information about Wechat read here
A Wechat store can be set up for free, and as many users never leave WeChat this is pretty obvious move if you want to reach clients in China.
Five free and popular stores are YouShop (微店）www.weidian.com/ Youzan (有赞／口袋通） http://youzan.com/ JD.COM (京东微店） Lewaimai 乐外卖 www.lewaimai.com/ and VD (V店） http://www.vd.cn/ for full analysis of the features of each read an excellent review here
Foreign brands can struggle to market on WeChat. Great content is important. Applying the same marketing strategy as on Facebook and Twitter accounts isn’t going to work. Promotional content can easily leads users to unfollowing the WeChat account. Content has to be of direct benefit to users to be effective. There are tremendous challenges to keep content relevant, brands should identify the main influencers among their readers, and give them access to VIP groups, providing services like package tracking, loyalty cards, and ordering systems to keep followers engaged and using the site. They should target readers by gender, geography and their reading preferences, they should work on article design, using surveys to make sites more interactive and to better engage users. Sometimes it is better to build a presence on less competitive platforms and then migrate to WeChat later. more detail about this topic here
The Chinese market is one of the biggest in the world and highly competitive. As with other countries consumers appreciate value for money, high quality and keen prices. At the same time expensive wine in top venues in major cities can be over 10K Euro for a bottle. Big spenders still exist, even after the crisis. For companies whose products are suitable for the Chinese market, a store on WeChat may well be part of their market entry strategy.
WalktheChat helps foreign companies establish their presence on Wechat. It was was established Thomas Graziani, a Frenchman living in Beijing, Jenny Chen joined the board shortly after. WalktheChat has been effective in finding its own clients through content marketing, a high quality blog, a good website, and get found through SEO and Google searches. They also ran viral marketing campaigns on Wechat account which are highly effective. Their services are viewable here www.walkthechat.com
Check out Bohan.pl for more information about doing business in China