Marketing to China's Youth


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How to reach China's youth? Guide to reach China's youth online and spread virally over Weibo, RenRen,Baidu, forums and other Chinese social networks. -- for more

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Marketing to China's Youth

  1. 1. Marketing to Chinas Youth Mitchell Blatt @ChinaMktgNews
  2. 2. Agenda• Characteristics of Chinas Youth• Websites to Reach Them• Summary
  3. 3. Characteristics of Chinas Youth• Self-focused ("Little Emperors")• Brand-conscious• Value-driven• Skeptical• Westernized
  4. 4. "Little Emperors": A Self-focused Generation of Chinese Youth• Born after economic and political liberalization• Under the one-child policy• "Spoiled" by their parents• More individualistic• Ideas and personality shaped by openness of society
  5. 5. Brand-conscious• Luxury goods sales expected to double from 2010 to 2015 to make up 20% of world share (McKinley & Company)• Western athletic brands highly valued• Nike, Adidas, Kappa, and others
  6. 6. Brand-conscious: Materialism in Pop Culture• "Id rather be crying in the back of a BMW than happy on the back of a bike." - contestant on popular dating show• "Men without money are trash." - woman scolding her boyfriend in popular 2011 viral video “Men without money are trash!” Clip from the video of a woman scolding her boyfriend on the subway
  7. 7. Value-driven• Inflationary worries• Bidding-style websites like popular• Group-buy websites increasingly popular• Counterfeit brand sales proliferate RenRen’s Group Buy service has increased by over 500% in revenue since 2009. (Red Tech Advisors)
  8. 8. Skeptical
  9. 9. Skeptical: Cultural Critics• Popular bloggers and authors like Han Han and Murong Xuecun• Han Han: High-school dropout Became best-selling author and blogger Novels focus on the underbelly of society 2011 novel follows a prostitute Recent blog topics include freedom, democracy and revolution Race-car driver• Murong Xuecun: Han Han 韩寒 Writes lurid novels Posts uncensored versions online Recent non-fiction book exposed a pyramid scheme• Critical bloggers on weibos• Uncensored novels published at
  10. 10. Westernized• Interest in Western culture and Western brands• Rock n roll festivals across China: Midi Music Festival, Strawberry Festival Bands: Carsick Cars, Queen Sea Big Shark, Brain Failure, Pinkberry• Hip-hop and club music inside Chinese bars: Jay Chou, MC Hot Dog influenced by hip-hop• NBA popular: China accounted for 30% of page views during 2010 Finals ( Boston Globe)
  11. 11. Where and How to Reach the Youth• The Great Power of Social Media• Internet Memes and Pop Culture• Internet Bar• Weibos (microblogs)• Forums• Examples of Memes• RenRen
  12. 12. The Great Power of Social Media• By mid 2010, netizens were spending over 50% of their time on social media websites. Data via DCCI
  13. 13. Internet Memes and Pop Culture• Memes and catchphrases made popular online are repeated in daily life and live on for years after their inception.• Examples included in slides:• "Whether or not you believe it, I believe it." (from slide on skepticism)• "Jia Junpeng, your mother is calling for you to return home to eat dinner.” (internet bar slide)• Guo Meimei (weibo)• "Brother isnt smoking a cigarette, what hes smoking is loneliness.” (forums)• Ordinary, artistic and idiotic youth photos (forums)
  14. 14. Internet Bar• "Jia Junpeng, your mother is calling you to return home and eat dinner." - post on Baidu World of Warcraft forums in 2009 that garnered 100s of thousands of comments Jia Junpeng actually isnt a real person But he is a popular persona among the youth An example of how much time some youths spend in internet bars• Online gaming industry accounted for $3.6 billion in 2009 Expected to grow by 155% from 2009 to 2014 to $9.2 billion (Niko Partners) Arcade also popular
  15. 15. Internet Bar: Reaching Jia Junpeng • Create minigames to integrate with campaigns Award-winning Campaigns at Spikes Asia 2011 involved gamesCoca-Cola “Live Positive” (wwwins Isobar Shanghai) and Fanta “Big Orange Squeeze” (Ogilvy Shanghai) campaigns won awards for integrating games. • Utilize in-game advertising in role player games • Work with gaming websites to customize ads for games Budweiser Bar integrated into RenRen Party game.
  16. 16. Weibos• Like Twitter, China’s microblogging services• Two major Weibos: Sina Weibo and Tencent (QQ) Weibo• Over 300 million users of weibos• China’s Weibos have more functions than Twitter: Share photos and videos more easily Comment on sent messages Post surveys 140 Chinese characters allows for much longer messages than 140 English characters (More like 140 words in Chinese)
  17. 17. Weibos: Exposing Corruption, Lies and the Greed of Guo Meimei• 20-year old Guo Meimei• Posted photos on Sina Weibo posing with cars and fancy clothing brands• Bragged that she bought it with "Red Cross" money• Spread quickly, GMM vilified• Archetype of materialism, corruption• Also an archetype of style...Guo Meimei featured in an ad on RenRen:"GMMs new sports car revealed: This car should turn a lot of heads."
  18. 18. Sina Weibo Dominates• Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo market leaders• Sina Weibo owns over 50% of user share• Over 80% of time share DCCI (via• Well-crafted viral campaigns can spread quickest on Sina Weibo
  19. 19. Weibo Beats SNS for Frequency• Weibo users log into their weibos more often than users of social networking sites log into their social networking accounts.Data sourced from DCCI
  20. 20. Forums: Where Memes are Made• Over 117 million forum users in China• Top forums: Mop, Tianya, Sina BBS, Baidu BBS• has been called the 4chan of China• Memes spread from forums to daily life
  21. 21. "Brother isnt smoking a cigarette, what he is smoking is loneliness."• Originated on BBS• Photos of lonely-looking people eating, smoking or drinking captioned• Phrase used in real life as a joke about loneliness• Used as a snowclone: "What brother is xxx-ing isnt xxx, its xxx." "What brother is eating isnt noodles, its loneliness.” "What Jia Junpengs mother is calling isnt Jia Junpeng, its loneliness." “What brother is smoking isn’t a cigarette, it is loneliness.”
  22. 22. Ordinary, Artistic and Idiotic Meme• Photo series started spreading in November 2011• 3 photos, of “ordinary youth,” “artistic youth,” and “idiotic youth”• Now used for everything, not just youth Ordinary, Artistic and Idiotic Jack Sparrow Ordinary, Artistic and Idiotic Cellist Images from Baidu BBS posts.
  23. 23. Possible Advertising Taglines• Playstation: Jia Junpengs mom: "Ever since we got Playstation, Jia Junpeng has never been late for dinner."• Old Spice: "Whether or not she believes, you will believe."• Budweiser: "Brother isnt drinking Budweiser, hes drinking good times." Going the Ordinary-Artistic-Idiot route… Image compilation created by Mitchell Blatt
  24. 24. RenRen and Kaixin• Facebook-style social networks• RenRen more popular, particularly among youth• RenRen reported 110 million registered users by the end of 2010• 31 million monthly active users in March, 2011• (SEC filings)• Kaixin reported 75 million users by the end of 2009• Older, white collar compared to RenRen• Both networks include games
  25. 25. RenRen vs. Kaixin• RenRen is the college and high-school social network while Kaixin is somewhat older, presumably with more wealth.• You can see differences in the networks by comparing the most popular brand pages at each. Data via Little Red Book
  26. 26. RenRen vs. Kaixin • RenRen • Kaixin • Apparel: #2 Adidas Dwight Howard • Apparel: #7 Kappa line, #10 Adidas • Computer: #1 Dell • Computer: #6 Lenova • Beer: #5 Budweiser • Beer: #16 Carlsberg • Cosmetics: #15 Watsons (drug store) • Cosmetics: #11 Dove, #17 LOreal • Top Three: Dell, Adidas, Nokia • Top Three: VW, MINI, BMWMore American brands. More “everyday” More European or domestic brands,brands (ie Budweiser, Watsons, top three). high-class brands, beauty brands, and expensive car brands in the top three.
  27. 27. Summary• Youth shaped by increased openness• Western style is cool• Brands are important, but at affordable prices• Marketing information must address concerns clearly, honestly• Social media dominates traditional media• Crossover between online and offline culture
  28. 28. My Cultural Expertise• Spent time in bars, karaoke, concerts, travelling and making friends with Chinas youth• Travelled through 15 provinces: Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, Shaanxi, Qinghai, Sichuan, Hunan, Guanxi, Guizhou, Yunnan, Guangdong, Hainan, Xinjiang and Beijing• Worked at a bar for two nights in Dali, Yunnan province• Contributing blogger to• International Travel Writer for Indianapolis
  29. 29. Contact Me• E-mail me at• Visit my homepage at• Download my resume at