It’s not just an offshore opportunity, 100 million+ Chinese expats also use WeChat for their daily news, to interact with brands, and more. To reach a Chinese audience, you need to be on WeChat.

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The Chinese Digital Landscape is Vastly Different To Our Own

There are many factors that make reaching a Chinese audience online a unique challenge.

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The Great Firewall

The Chinese Government has attempted for many years to control the media landscape. One of the biggest challenges to that is the internet. In order to retain control, the Government implemented what is known as The Great Firewall – a series of policies and technologies that block or filter most websites and apps from outside of China.

This makes it very difficult for international businesses to target a Chinese audience, and means your Chinese customers probably can’t see your website.

China’s Unique Technological Evolution

While the internet might be different in China, it is one of the most tech-savvy countries in the world. With a captive audience of nearly 1.4 billion people, Chinese tech companies have been able to handpick the best of Silicon Valley, to launch their own technology ecosystems.

The result of this is that China has one of the highest rates of smartphone penetration in the world. The Chinese conduct their whole lives online – and in particular, on their mobile phones.

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Chinese Culture meets Technology

Chinese social, technological and business culture is very different from the West. Concepts such as the importance of hierarchy in families and businesses, the value placed on trusted recommendations and word of mouth and the lack of trust in advertising have all shaped how China’s tech landscape has evolved, and this is particularly evident when looking at WeChat. 

While WeChat originated as a copy of Whatsapp, it has evolved in its own right to now be a market leading social media app, that even has Facebook copying its features. You can see this by how the center of WeChat is not a newsfeed, but rather intimate conversations. Groups and influencers have far more sway, and advertising is minimal. Business accounts (known as Official Accounts) are designed around sharing long form content, in less frequent updates, with engaging videos and images. Building your brand is about creating a long term relationship with your audience.

WeChat: China's app for everything

So what exactly is WeChat? We Chat has revolutionised media in China. The mobile app is like a hybrid of iOS & a social media platform, with its own built in ecosystem of apps that enable everything from communication to shopping, social media, payments, taxis and rideshares, customer service, ordering food and more. There are over 1 billion users (100 million outside of China) actively using the app every day to conduct almost every aspect of their lives.

With a captive audience that’s blocked from using Western technology, WeChat has built in the best of Silicon Valley, which has driven it’s dominance of the Chinese digital landscape and made it the must-have app.

1.057 billion

DAILY USERS

14 million

BUSINESS ACCOUNTS

38 billion

DAILY MESSAGES SENT

98.5%

OF CHINESE AGE 50-80 USE WECHAT

How WeChat Works

WeChat started as a messenger app, but it’s incredible success has seen it develop into much more.

Developers are able to create “mini-programs” within WeChat that can do almost anything you can imagine: payments, online banking, taxi ordering, food delivery and more.

Which means users almost never need to leave the app. If you’re not visible in WeChat, you’re not visible in China!

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Built for Mobile

All WeChat functions are designed to work perfectly on a mobile phone, making websites a thing of the past in China.

QR Codes

While QR codes never quite took off in the West, they have thrived with WeChat. Within the app you can scan a code to make payments, transfer money, enquire with a business and more. QR codes are essential to WeChat's functionality.

WeChat Pay

With it's built in payment system, WeChat Pay is more common than a credit card in China. Where Apple Pay has struggled, WeChat has dominated, and you can even see stores in Australia adopting WeChat pay.

Chats, Calls & Video

WeChat is the main app communications in China with easy chat functions (including group chats), free calling, video calling, location sharing, and more.

Translation

One of WeChat's most innovative functions is the ability to translate messages in a chat, making global communications easier than ever before.

Content is King

Content is at the core of WeChat. Business accounts are built around sharing long form articles with creative designs, images and videos, rather than a news feed of short snippets

How businesses use WeChat

To grow your business using WeChat, you need to provide regular, engaging and valuable content for your target audience to subscribe to. WeChat allows international business accounts to post long form content 4x a month, with up to six articles in each post. Use these articles to educate your customers about the products you sell, what your brand stands for, what separates you from the competition, and most importantly, why they should trust you. Articles can contain images, videos, interactive QR codes, html designs, links to web pages hosted within WeChat and more.

Consider your weekly WeChat posts the same as sending out marketing emails to your followers – your followers get a notification every time you publish, so they can start to learn about and build a relationship with your brand.

WeChat has a built in advertising platform to promote articles to wider target audiences, and businesses also commonly advertise by posting into groups that members join for specific topics relevant to the brand (for example, real estate listings in specific areas or investment opportunities). Businesses also commonly ‘advertise’ by partnering with influencers to promote the business to their large audiences. This is a preferred method as influencer recommendations are highly valued, whereas advertising is viewed with skepticism.

Your audience can message your business WeChat account to enquire about your 

How to launch your WeChat strategy

WeTools is your complete WeChat marketing toolkit. WeTools is a technology platform that allows you to create a verified WeChat account, upload, translate and publish content, grow your audience with advertising tools, report on your success and have complete control of your brand, marketing and messages in the Chinese market. Our suite of tools are designed to make WeChat marketing simple, easy and cost effective – all without any Chinese language required!

Learn more about our features here.

How to launch your WeChat strategy

WeTools is your complete WeChat marketing toolkit. WeTools is a technology platform that allows you to create a verified WeChat account, upload, translate and publish content, grow your audience with advertising tools, report on your success and have complete control of your brand, marketing and messages in the Chinese market. Our suite of tools are designed to make WeChat marketing simple, easy and cost effective – all without any Chinese language required!

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Start a free trial

See how easy it is to create, translate and post your content to WeChat!

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