By Lauranne Poncin & Charlie Bussat

China Chat is the meeting point for all those curious about WeChat and online marketing on China’s social media platforms. For two days experts and industry leaders share their inputs and best practices of the year. Organized by ChinaChannel and Walk the Chat, the event gathers more than 500 experts who are eager to learn, meet and share ideas. Being immersed in this year’s Chinese digital environment, we attended some of the conferences.  Here are the top three things we gleamed from the experience:

1) WeChat Key Trends 2017 – H2

Matthew Brennan, from ChinaChannel underlined the increase of WeChat payment, transactions, catching up on Alipay and taking 40% of the third-party mobile payment market in China (2017, Q1).  Originally a messaging app, WeChat is now a direct competitor of Alipay, a pure payment app. Also, we heard about WeChat Ads growth in  advertising; the CEO of Youzan (the largest WeChat shopping platform in China), Bai Ya, stated “Within 18 months, Tencent ads revenue shall surpass Baidu ».

2) The First 48 Hours – The Most Critical Time to Create Follower Value

Joseph Leveque, from digital consultancy firm 31ten, began his presentation by highlighting the two main issues often encountered on WeChat:

  1. We are inundated by WeChat Official Accounts’ push-notifications. There has been a 250% increase in new official accounts; that’s an increase from 8 million to 20 million in two years, whereas the number of users active monthly on WeChat increased by only 70% – from 550 million to 938 million. WeChat users are pestered too much, and as a consequence the reading rates are plummeting.
  2. The second issue is that 50% of official accounts have a stagnating or decreasing number of followers. This is explained by the delivery of non-relevant content.

The solution to the issues that Joseph outlined is to leverage the 48-hour “golden window”, where WeChat offers us the opportunity to send 1-to-1 unlimited messages. This would enable brands to capture as much information as possible and therefore build a valuable user journey.

He also highlighted that most brands underutilize their “golden window”, and he then gave us his personal advice to make the most of this “golden window”: “Keep in mind to be contextually relevant, intiuitive, and rewarding!”


3) FIVE mistakes that break Brands on Chinese Social Media (WeChat – Sina Weibo – QQ – Youku)

Ashley Dudarenok, from Chozan, gave us a quick pick of five mistakes that break brands on Chinese social media. She started by explaining that Chinese and Western social media are not used for the same purpose, and then stressed the fact that social media accounts should be treated as a business branch. Finally, she exposed typical social media crises in China, such as PR mishandling, fake results to meet KPIs purchased by partners / KOLs, and not responding in time to new social media  regulations.

Thanks to the speakers and people I met there. This conference is an annual event in China you cannot miss!

In a few months we will be graduating from our ESSCA-EFAP MBA in Digital Marketing & Business, and this conference was a great opportunity to realize what we learned and what is still to learn. Special greetings to Maximilian Rech and the China Chat team!


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