While the West has seen a rapid growth in mobile e-commerce, China is well ahead of this curve. In 2016, half of all e-commerce sales were made using mobile technology, and it is estimated that by 2020, this figure will have risen to 68%. Mobile technology is king in China, with 95% of the country’s 730 million internet users accessing the internet using a mobile device. Given the importance of mobile in China, it is vital that Western brands design services which are mobile friendly. Which brings us to WeChat.
WeChat is the most popular mobile app in China, and millions of people use it on a daily basis. The platform has multiple social media and e-commerce functions; in fact, there is no Western equivalent to WeChat. The best way to describe the app is that it's like having WhatsApp, Facebook, Apple Pay and another 20 apps all wrapped up into one package. Because of its ubiquity, it is essential that brands wishing to enter the Chinese e-commerce marketplace understand the current trends in the world of WeChat.
Official WeChat Accounts:
WeChat users who signed up following the 2011 launch are now getting older, and are therefore morphing into a more professional and affluent population. Since 2011, the app itself has evolved, and is now increasingly lending itself to e-commerce. There are currently over 10 million Official WeChat Accounts owned by brands, influential bloggers and public figures, and 17.7% of users follow them.
It is vital that a brand targeting China establishes an Official WeChat Account which will make their page visible in the search results. Once a brand has established an Official Account, it can create Mini Programs which will allow them to target audiences with special offers and discount codes. Even if you don't plan to sell your product using WeChat, the platform is a fantastic way of boosting brand awareness.
A final point to highlight - setting up an Official account isn't as straight forward as it is here in the West. There are a number of forms and official hoops to jump. East West have an official relationship with WeChat and have smoothed this path out to speed up the process. For further information, please get in touch.