* Social Media in China A Very Preliminary Introduction to the World’s Largest Internet Market and Its Social Media Applications Created by Mindy Zhang for COMM215 November 2009 // Twitter: yaycaffeine *Artwork from omjii
So you want to know about social media in China.
So you want to know about social media in China. This presentation will… Give you a *very*preliminary overview of China’s social media landscape (the users, the tools, the unique market characteristics). Offer some basic, practical advice for companies looking to engage Chinese consumers through social media. Provide a launching point for learning more and staying informed about the market. (Download this presentation to access hyperlinks for additional resources!)
China’s netizen population is increasing… 338 million users in June 2009
… and adoption of social media is growing. Source: CIC, 2008.
What about Facebook, YouTube and Twitter?
China’s digital media landscape is dominated by local players. Government censorship Local players appeal to domestic users
And they are innovative players, not just “copycats.” Chinese entrepreneurs generally start with a service they see being successful somewhere else. If it does not work [in the Chinese market] "as is", they diverge until the service becomes quite different.
on Techno-Darwinism and the 5C’s of Chinese Innovation
And they are innovative players, not just “copycats.” $1 billion inrevenue last year Only 8.4% advertising revenue in Q2 On track to 50% growth this year Read more about Tencent
What makes China’s Internet landscape unique?
Who the netizens are. Mostly urban (71.7%) – However, over 95 million rural netizens and growing. 72.4% have a monthly household income of less than 2,000 RMB (~290 USD) 31.7% are students. 7.4% are unemployed. Only12.4% have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Source: CNNIC’s 24th Statistical Report, June 2009.
How they access the web. 46% of Chinese netizens access the Internet by mobile phone. 35.5% access the web through Internet cafes. (however, declining as broadband access increases) Source: CNNIC’s 24th Statistical Report, June 2009.
Why they access the web. 1. Entertainment 2. Information 3. Communication Source: CNNIC’s 24th Statistical Report, June 2009.
Why they access the web. “Chinese netizens are looking for ways to express … their freedom on the Internet.” * 73% of Chinese netizens agreed with the statement: “Online, I feel free to say and do things I wouldn’t do or say offline,” compared to only 32% of US netizens.* *Source: “The Uniqueness of Social Media in China.”
What they’re using. Blogs 54% of netizens own a blog. However, only 35% have updated in the past 6 months.* “Most Chinese blogs are little more than online diaries… [but] that doesn’t mean crises never originate with blogs.” - Kaiser Kuo Director of Digital Strategy, Ogilvy China *Source: CNNIC’s 24th Statistical Report, June 2009.
What they’re using. Bulletin board systems (BBS) “The real place where conversations about brands occur on the Chinese Internet.” – Kaiser Kuo Over 100 million netizens use online forums (aka BBS), and 96% of these users spend at least 1 hour a day on these websites. (The Hive) Source: “Pepsi’s so-so social media campaign” Littleredbook.cn.
What they’re using. Social networking sites (SNS) 124 million SNS users in 2009. Each user has on average 2.8 accounts.* *Source: China Internet Watch. Qzone by Tencent. Read about it here. Primary purpose is entertainment. 27.4% log in just to play games.*
What they’re using. Social gaming Low-cost entertainment, attractive to students, low-income individuals, and young office workers. Often accessed through SNS websites. *Source: “China’s growing addiction: online farming games.” Venture Beat. “An estimated 15 million urban white-collars spend more than five hours a day on Happy Farm.”* Interesting Article: “Happy Farms Game Destroys Chinese Jobs, Relationships.”
What they’re using. Video-sharing websites 65.8% of netizens use online video sites. CNNIC’s 24th Statistical Report. Only 30% of videos on popular websites Youku and Tudouare user-generated. The rest consists of (mostly pirated) film and TV content.* *Source: WebProChina, February 2009.
How they’re participating. Higher percentage of “Creators” and “Critics” in China. When compared with countries like the U.S., urban Chinese netizens are generally more active in contributing to online content (rather than simply consuming it). For more information about what these labels mean, see Forrester’s Social Technographics Ladder. Netizen Participation in Metro China vs. United States Source: Forrester’s Consumer Profile Tool, 2009 Data.
How they’re participating. Chinese users are more engaged in their online lives. 86% of Chinese youth live “some of their lives” online, compared to 42% of American youth. Source: 2007 survey by IAC and JWT
How viral it is. “China has a more tightly integrated Internet community. Everything you do is social media… virality is so much more ferocious.” – Kaiser Kuo Viral memes proliferate across the Chinese web and become cultural phenomena. The human flesh search engine phenomenon (HFSE) prompts netizens to dig up personal details and reveal scandals across social media.
How influential it is. 56.3% of users said that they “got to know brands” through online channels. 58.7% actually made purchase decisions based on user-generated online info (compared to only 19% in U.S.). Even when not making a purchase, 89.9% of users still pay attention to online word of mouth.* 81% of BBS and blog users check online word of mouth before purchasing a product.* *Source: “Making Sense of Internet Word of Mouth.” CIC 2009.
What should companies do about social media in China?
1. Listen to your audience.
Monitor the channels they’re using.
What are they saying about your brand?
What are they saying about competitors’ brands?
Pre-empt reputational crises. Be ready to respond when necessary.
2. Understand local netizens. … and how they’re different from netizens in other markets.
What are their motivations for using social media?
How do they interact with different social media channels?
How to they interact with each other across these channels?
What drives them to participate and spread messages?
What kinds of messages will they be receptive to?
3. Be visible on the right channels. Don’t simply jump on the social media bandwagon. When engaging Chinese consumers through social media, know which medium is right for your message and your objective – i.e. when to use corporate blogs vs. forums vs. social networking sites. After selecting your channels, make sure your brand is highly visible to the public.
4. Know the incentives for participation and engagement. Why should Chinese netizens engage with your brand and spread your message? Is it social currency? Opinion leadership among peers? Timely and compelling content? Access to exclusive promotions? Incorporate incentives that will drive interest and participation.
5. Gain and maintain trust. Be authentic and transparent in communicating across social media. Try to add legitimate value to netizens’ online experiences. Most importantly, don’t try to deceive netizens – it will only lead to backlash and reputational damage.
Some coolthingscompanies have done using Chinese social media: Lancome’s campaign offers optimized engagement [click for case study]
Some coolthingscompanies have done using Chinese social media: Apple’s social networking site campaign [click for case study]
Some coolthingscompanies have done using Chinese social media: BMW launches niche, high end social community in China [click for case study]
Some coolthingscompanies have done using Chinese social media: Clinique/Sony Product Placement and “Sufei’s Diary” [click for case study]
Some coolthingscompanies have done using Chinese social media: ProChile and Chilean Wine in China [click for case study]
And some not-so-cool things they’ve experienced across social media.
“A failed viral ad: the Lenovo red laptop girl” [click for case study] And some not-so-cool things they’ve experienced across social media.
“Starbucks faces eviction from the Forbidden City” [click for case study] And some not-so-cool things they’ve experienced across social media.
Chinese netizens rally against Carrefour [click for case study] [and some lessons learned] And some not-so-cool things they’ve experienced across social media. Image: China Digital Times.
The Future of Social Media in China Potential for growth - Only 25% Internet penetration
China’s social media landscape is constantly growing, innovating, evolving.
Consumers are adopting new technologies and interacting with them in different ways.
And new conversations can engage millions of netizens in a matter of days, or even hours.
By the time you view this presentation, the facts will have changed.
Knowing the market requires you to stay informed! Here are some resources to get you started.(And I will update this section as I find new stuff)