The Marketing, Research & Digital Agency for China

The Era of O2O is Rising in China

Shopping in China is not a necessity but a lifestyle. It is a hobby Chinese consumers pursue with a passion, particularly as online shopping becomes increasingly popular. 67% of Chinese purchased goods online in the past three months according to McKinsey. Chinese consumers often look for a product in stores and end up buying it elsewhere. Armed with smartphones, a third of shoppers research goods on their mobile in stores, and just 16% of them end up purchasing the product in the store. Following this trend, the industry is hastening to meet Chinese customers’ expectations, creating a multichannel shopping experience with the well-used catchphrase being “O2O”.

Year of the Sheep - New Traditions in China

Chinese Year of the Sheep Toilets

Happy Year of the Sheep!  For those who had a break for the Spring Festival, we hope it was a good one. 

2015's Lunar New Year celebrations were a snapshot of a changing China.  A growing group of Chinese consumers have a new take on long-held habits, following shifts in preferences, new laws and digital initiatives.

Infograph: WeChat User Demographics, Usage, Official Accounts & Advertising

WeChat Infograph

In a few short years, WeChat has evolved from a messaging service to an all-encompassing social media-communications-commerce-entertainment platform. It's showing no signs of losing its social media leadership in the Year of the Sheep, so we thought we'd share this infograph to help you keep up to speed with WeChat user demographics, their usage, Official Accounts and advertising on WeChat this year.

China's Year of the Sheep - Who Wants the Woolly?

Chinese Year of the Sheep

It's upon us.  No sooner have the Christmas decorations come down, and the red lanterns, woolly sculptures and giant inflatable sheep have popped up in every corner of China with even more gusto.   The excitement is further fuelled by infinite fireworks explosions, gushy television commercials, and the biggest consumer spend-up of the year.

19 February will mark the start of the Year of the Sheep (Yang). Its auspicious placing as the eighth sign in the 12-year cycle counts for little for many superstitious Chinese, who rank the animal lowly versus the luckier Dragon, Tiger, Horse and even next year's Monkey.  Would-be parents often hold back, believing kids born as sheep are destined to be docile followers, rather than leaders.  An old Chinese idiom remarks that only one in ten born in the Year of the Sheep will find happiness. 

Which WeChat Account Is Best For My Business: A Service or Subscription Account?

WeChat Service and Subscription Accounts Explained

WeChat, the main means of communication for most online Chinese, offers a viable way to reach consumers who regularly use this application.  For many, WeChat is the start and end of their phone usage.  In China, 90% of smartphone users now use WeChat, with heavy daily activity.

WeChat is used both as a messaging app and a social media platform as well as evolving to be an important place for brand positioning.  On 30 September 2014, there were 468 million active WeChat users - most of them in China.  Due to the inclination of Chinese to discuss and research brands, products and services on social media, WeChat is an important piece of the puzzle for brands.

Lessons from Apple's Spectacular Rise in China

Tim Cook in China

Full credit to Tim Cook and the team at Apple who sold more smartphones in China than any other brand in the last three months of 2014.  It's the first time Apple achieved this, and especially impressive with the new iPhone 6 only launching halfway through the quarter.

Perhaps the most notable feat is that the hugely popular phones are almost twice the price of their nearest competitor - further reinforcing that China's premium market is as alive as ever for those brands who give consumers what they want.

Why Chinese Pensioners' Purse is so Important

Elderly Chinese Selfie

China's youth seem to get all the attention.  Right from day one, most are pampered by doting parents and two sets of grandparents.  They are typically better educated and more likely to live in cities, resulting in higher average incomes than those 10-20 years older.  Their more liberal attitude to consumerism sees most marketing directed their way.

Nonetheless, China's swelling pensioner population are increasingly on the radar of businesses selling in China.  With some Chinese retiring as early as 50, the pensioner pool is proportionately larger than most countries, particularly when coupled with the relatively small youth segment resulting from the one-child policy.  The number of Chinese aged over 65 are expected to grow from 8% of the population today, to 25% by 2050, with spending rising from ¥4 trillion ($640 billion) to ¥106 trillion ($17 trillion).

International WeChat Accounts: Not Quite What You Think

International WeChat Accounts vs China WeChat Accounts

WeChat or Wei Xin (微信 or wēixìn), the wonder kid of Chinese apps, is a major part of the ever-evolving app and social media landscape inside Mainland China.  WeChat is now seen as one of the dominant ways to reach and interact with Chinese consumers, particularly on a personal level.  A WeChat strategy is a vital part of an overall China marketing plan.

The Differences Between Mainland China & HK Consumers

Chinese consumers different than Hong Kong

The differences between Mainland China and Hong Kong consumers are again illustrated in recent travel research by Ruder Finn and IPSOS.  Where Mainland Chinese tourists cited various types of shopping as the three most common activities on their last leisure trip, holidaying Hong Kongers weren't as bothered about visiting a store.

China's Auto Industry - As Unique As It Is Large

Chinese car consumers

45 new vehicles are sold a minute in China - 23.5 million in total last year.  That's 42% more than the world's second largest market, the U.S.  By 2030, Chinese consumers are expected to buy more new cars than the U.S. and Europe combined.

Few products represent the scale and rising affluence of Chinese consumers like the auto industry has, but it is still early days.  In 2005, Chinese owned 17 cars per 1,000 people.  By 2020, it will be 184 cars per 1,000 according to Cetelem.  If you compare that to the 809 in the U.S., there is still plenty of room for growth.


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