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An Advertiser’s Overview of China’s Digital Marketing & E-commerce Landscape: February 2014


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China has become the world's largest e-commerce marketplace and will soon be home to more ad spending than any other country. With e-commerce representing about 20% of all retail sales in China it's …

China has become the world's largest e-commerce marketplace and will soon be home to more ad spending than any other country. With e-commerce representing about 20% of all retail sales in China it's to be expected that this market segment will draw significant attention by government regulators. How do global brands and their advertising agency partners navigate this complex and ever-changing landscape? What patterns have begun to emerge that will help increase the effectiveness of their advertising? How, when and where do we engage this large and growing base of online consumers? Answering these questions correctly will be the difference between gaining market share or seeing diminishing ROI performance. This survey, while far from exhaustive, brings together research from a large number of sources in an effort to educate, challenge and stimulate. A special THANK YOU to companies like We Are Social, McKinsey, Bain, CIC and the many others from whom this data was obtained. China's digital and e-commerce landscape is still being defined and it's not a market to enter unprepared. It is big, complex, changing and unique. But it can be won with the right combination of talent, resources and strategy. Good luck to all who would enter!

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  • 4. Source: eMarketer, Aug. 2013 25 February 2014 Prepared by Brent Cohen, Asia Media Services Ltd. 21
  • 5. Magna Global BRIC Report, 2014
  • 6. US$41 bn
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  • 8. US$13.8 bn US$7.5 bn
  • 9. US$ 4.6 bn US$ 623 bn
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  • 12.   Alibaba’s Taobao is the largest ecommerce company in the world, more than twice the size of Amazon and eBay combined, with a catalog of 800 million products, and US$160 bn dollars in revenue in 2012.   2013 Singles’ Day (November 11th) saw US$5.7 billion spent in one day on Taobao and Tmall –  With Xiaomi alone selling US$100 million worth of phones via Weixin promotion   Alibaba’s payment system, Alipay, accounts for 50% of all e-payments and is soon to reach a run-rate of a trillion dollars a year (PayPal is US$180 billion)., soon to IPO in the US, is the second-largest e-commerce company in China and bases its strength on super-fast delivery through a proprietary infrastructure and a mobile-based tracking system.   However, they do not have an AUDIENCE platform like Alibaba’s Tmall, Tencent’s Weixin (WeChat) or Sina’s Weibo
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  • 19.   E-commerce giants are training customers’ to use mobile for shopping –  They enhanced the user experience, increased mobile promotions and launched mobile-special activities on Singles’ Day (Double 11) –  The Taobao app released mobile-user-only “red-envelopes” (cash coupons) –  Jingdong, Yixun (51buy), Suning also released special coupon to mobile users   China’s network coverage is maturing and more users of smartphones and tablets are starting to use those devices for shopping with real implications for needed attribution modeling!   Starting to see the use of IM platforms for e-commerce –   WeChat 5.0 added payment function and teamed with to make WeChat shopping  possible. –  Yixin (by NetEase and China Telecom), Alibaba’s Laiwang and other IMs tried to engage users by offering free mobile data traffic   Cooperation with teleco operators –  Taobao and China Unicom released a joint “free mobile data traffic” plan –  Followed by others such as Suning and Jingdong planning cooperation with telecos   With mobile rates and cell phone prices falling, mobile internet and shopping has broadened to tier-three and four cities as well as lower-income groups
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  • 29.  270 million active users as of Nov. 2013 and over 600 million registered with most in China.  It boasts an incredible level of activity –  Over 10 million messages a minute were processed during the Chinese New Years eve in 2014  It has geolocation features.  It has an integrated QR code system, allowing online-to-offline integration.  It allows the customization of official accounts, through the setting of the menu and the definition of the user experience.  It’s a formidable channel for content publishing, and therefore, for brand communication.
  • 30.     A wide range of different products is sold on WeChat today, including items and services that people use everyday. –  Elong & China Southern sell hotels and flights –  Xiaomi has sold thousands of smartphones in a few minutes –  Taxi booking service Didi Dache allows users to find and pay rides   WeChat suits any sort of need, even for “offline” activities. As an example, in Beijing it has been integrated with vending machines.
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