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  • Writer's pictureAkina Wong

10 most popular social commerce sites in China 一 which are suggestable for marketing

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Overview of Chinese social media landscape

Currently, there were approximately 926.8 million social media users in China. Since Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other international social media platforms are blocked in China, the following Chinese platforms dominate China’s social media landscape.

  1. WeChat

  2. Xiao Hong Shu (Little Red Book)

  3. Douyin (TikTok)

  4. Sina Weibo

  5. Tencent QQ

  6. Tencent Video

  7. Douban

  8. Zhihu

  9. Meituan

  10. Toutiao

Social media in China also play a highly important role in social commerce. About 65 percent of the Chinese population, especially younger generations, are netizens. It is estimated that China’s social commerce will generate over 363 billion this year, under Covid 19.

Social Media in China for Marketing - insights of 4 suggestable platforms

WeChat - more than just a messaging app

Important Statistics:

1.242 billion monthly active users worldwide

38 billion messages are exchanged daily while 55 billion messages on WhatsApp

78% of Penetration Rate Among 16-64 Year Olds In China

66-minute daily average usage time per user

2.5 million official accounts

780 million users on WeChat Moments

What is WeChat?

  • Owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, WeChat is the world’s fifth most popular social media messaging apps. WeChat has grown from a messaging app to a hybrid of messaging and social media. So it is like a combined version of WhatsApp and Facebook. While you can enjoy voice chatting, picture messaging, and video calling with the app, you can also play mini-games with your WeChat friends and share posts in “moments”

WeChat Marketing FAQs

  • What are WeChat Official Accounts for?

Brands, individuals, and companies, which target Chinese market, create WeChat Official Accounts and do content marketing on it. WeChat users can follow them and be notified once the accounts have updates on their moment. Moment users are responsive, 49% of them share posts that they like.

  • How to promote business on WeChat Official Accounts?

With 2.5 million official accounts, the competition on WeChat is intensive. The two most common types of content marketing are for brand building and for customer conversion, including loyalty programs and incentives, like e-coupons, for followers. However, to get your contents exposed, you should think of the following keys:

1. Ranking Optimisation

WeChat users choose the content and WeChat official accounts they like through search. On one hand, certified official accounts come first on the search result list, so it is hard for an uncertified account to be chosen. On the other hand, adding keywords is another effective way, but choosing the correct words that Chinese users frequently search for is another hard topic.

2. Paid Advertising

Brands and businesses can capture the attention of Chinese consumers by promoting their WeChat messages. There are 3 main placements available. First, WeChat Moment Ads look the same as the Moment feeds of your friends. When you watch a Moment Ad, you feel like you are watching your friend’s sharing. Next, WeChat Banner Ads are shown in the middle or at the bottom of articles of Official Accounts. Lastly, the Ad you see on the Mini Program Interface is Mini Program Ad.

Little Red Book - like a lifestyle and beauty oriented Instagram

Important Statistics:

148 million monthly active users (MAUs)

67% of the users are female

46% of the users are under 24 years old

20 billion reported value

90% of users that are under the age of 35

29,000 brands registered on the platform in 2019

What is Little Red Book?

Little Red Book, also known as Xiaohongshu 小红书, is an e-commerce platform that is quite similar to the social media app Instagram, with 3 to 6 pictures, with text descriptions of no more than 200 characters per post. It is specifically used to post and read product reviews, outfit of the day (OOTD, tips on lifestyles, trip sharing, and shopping tips. Now many Chinese users rely on the platform to make purchase decisions and thus it is a highly significant social media channel to do content marketing and brand building for China.

Little Red Book Marketing FAQs

  • What marketing function can Little Red Book achieve?

The platform is an effective channel to fuel up the purchasing process. It helps brands to get awareness in the China market, arouse Chinese consumer interest and desire with their strong algorithmic content recommendations, and now even serves as an e-commerce platform, like Tmall and Taobao.

  • How powerful is Little Red Book marketing?

Some Chinese brands including Perfect Diary (完美日记), Zhong Xuegao (钟薛高), Xiaoxiandou (小仙炖), etc. have grown up on Xiaohongshu.

Older Chinese brands such as Huili (回力), Pecho Ling (百雀羚), Dabaitu (大白兔), and Li Ning (李宁) have been loved by more young people through Xiaohongshu.

Little Red Book has also become an important community in China or boosting new consumption and empowering new brands, not limited to Chinese brands...

LV conducted the first live broadcast of the brand account through Little Red Book. The popularity value of the live broadcast room exceeded 6 million, and the interaction rate reached 33%. The strong exposure and in-depth interaction attracted more than 20,000 fans for the brand account.

  • How to effectively promote your brand or product in Little Red Book?

While WeChat has its strengths due to its considerable user number in China, Little Red Book is recommendable as it is friendly to content lifespan. A Red post normally still gets traffic after a month so if you are not planning to run a short-term, like a few days, campaign, Little Red Book is in your consideration. Here are several important keys to widen your post lifespan:

A. The scoring system is called CES (community engagement score)

The traffic logic of Xiaohongshu has two core points:

content tag matching, social relationship recommendation.

After Little Red Book posts are published, they will be marked with a series of tags by the system and tentatively recommended to fans who are interested in these tags.

After the posts are pushed to fans, based on a series of interactive behaviors of the fans, internal scores are assigned to the notes to decide whether to continue pushing them to other fans.

The scoring system are as follows:

CES = Clicks*1 + Bookmark*1 + Comments*4 + Reposts*4 + Follows*8

The interactive behavior of fans indirectly reflects the quality of the content of the posts. Even if there are not many fans, the posts will skin carebe recommended to more fans in China by the system on the premise of high-quality scores, forming a "stepped" algorithm recommendation. Posts with high scores will be further supported by traffic from Little Red Book site search and Baidu search. This type of traffic is very persistent, and the notes can maintain the growth of likes and comments after several years of posting.

B. The recommendation mechanism is centralized

On the homepage of Little Red Book, there are three TAGs, "Follow", "Discover" and "Nearby".

"Follow" refers to the content of the account that the user actively follows, which is displayed here in a form similar to WeChat Moments;

"Discover" is the high-quality content actively pushed by Little Red Book according to the tags of the user's attention, such as makeup, skincare, pets, etc;

"Nearby" a location-based content information list.

Among them, "follow" and "discovery" are the most important content exposure channels. Therefore, either strive to attract followers and become KOLs or create high-quality content to obtain platform recommendation traffic.

The recommendation mechanism of Little Red Book is that after a post is published, the platform will push the post to target users who may be interested according to the user’s tag attributes, and then feedback based on the behavior of these users (like, favorite, comment, forward). Finally, the platform will decide whether to push the posts to a larger pool of people, which means getting more exposure.

C. High-quality content can get long-term and long-tail traffic

Hundreds of millions of Chinese users share their shopping experiences and lifestyles on Little Red Book, thus forming a powerful database of real users' word-of-mouth, and the personalized content recommendation provided by the KOL culture and platform algorithms have brought to a higher conversion rate.

Posts on Little Red Book can be continuously searched and recommended, and the exposure of the content continues to increase over time. This is the best signal that the platform sends to high-quality content creators and also means your content can be exposed permanently on the platform, and the traffic is continuous for a long time.

Learn more about Little Red Book promoting strategies:

Douyin - a Chinese version of Tik Tok

Important Statistics:

800 million global monthly active users (MAUs)

600 million global daily active users

16% of users from first- and second-tier cities

20.5 minutes averagely spent per day (about 82 videos per day)

34.3 billion reported value

50% or above of users over the age of 24

What is Douyin?

As China’s most popular short video application, it is owned by ByteDance, which is renowned for Douyin’s international version - TikTok, the most downloaded iPhone app globally. The types of content on Douyin are mainly comedy, celebrity, photography, dance, beauty, food, pets, pranks, and stunts. Now Douyin strives to shift itself to be an e-commerce platform like Taobao and Tmall. In the beginning, its e-commerce system was supported by Chinese brands only, including Huawei, Winona, Peacebird, and Perfect Diary. However, since it has nurtured a highly profitable youth culture, more international brands, even luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, have opened their flagship store and launched large-scale campaigns on Douyin.

How powerful is Douyin marketing?

Viral videos on Douyin could get 30-200 million views in one day. The most popular videos are often between 10 to 30 seconds long. Take Cartier as an example, the brand launched a dance campaign on Douyin using the hashtag #方圆battle等你来舞#, which has over 1 billion views at the time of writing. Another brand Dior also boosted in China thanks to Douyin. The brand’s Douyin account obtained more than 300,000 followers and more than 1.3 million “hearts” on posts within a year.

Douyin Marketing FAQs

  • How to effectively promote your brand or product on Douyin?

1. Hashtag Challenge

As mentioned, Douyin is like a Chinese version of Instagram. It is also one of the favorite activities among Douyin users and brands can promote their hashtag challenges through paid ads.

2. Influencer marketing for Douyin

While top China’s celebrity endorsement is effective on Weibo, it is actually better for brands to collaborate with a lot of small influencers. Researches have shown that the ROI of this influencer strategy tends to be higher than the endorsement of one or a few top celebrities. To get your products mentioned by more influencers in China, you can consider gifting products to influencers apart from direct contracts.

3. Customised stickers and filters

Douyin enables its users to add different effects to their video contents with their creativity. It is also the reason for many viewers to get addicted to the videos. Thus, brands now cater to the Douyin culture, launch brand-sponsored filters and stickers to engage followers in their campaigns for China. For example, in a Pizza Hut’s campaign, the stickers of its iconic red hat and sunglasses were streamed more than a million times.

Sina Weibo - A Chinese version of Facebook and Twitter

Important Statistics:

520 million monthly active users (MAU)

224 million daily active users

80% of users aged 16 - 30

1 million recognised content creators

8 minutes 48 seconds average spent per visit

What is Weibo?

Sina Weibo, or Weibo, is the most popular blogging platform in China. Weibo users can upload texts, images, videos, and gifts on their accounts.

With 224 million daily active users, Weibo is favored by brands to do marketing for China. However, compared to Douyin, top celebrity endorsement is a must to get content to go viral.

Weibo Marketing FAQs

  • Who are Weibo’s target audiences?

Apart from news, Weibo is also a hub in China to share cultural content. And here are the primary contents followed by Weibo users in China: Entertainment, Gaming, Beauty, Fashion, Education, E-commerce, Travel.

  • How powerful is Weibo marketing?

Here is an example of a recent successful campaign for China on Weibo. Chanel, the French luxury fashion house, brought its flagship No. 5 perfume through an offline exhibition known as Sense Chanel. The campaign joined forces with a total of nine brand ambassadors, including the internationally acclaimed Chinese actress Zhou Xun, the Hong Kong actor William Chan and Wang Yibo, a popular Chinese actor and a member of the Chinese-South Korean boy group UNIQ.

The team of celebrities of China, who are also top-tier KOLs, has unsurprisingly been the main driver of this effective delivery. With several of them seen in the top 10 mentions in the brand’s content on Weibo, Chanel achieved an overall SOV (Share of Voices) at 60.3% during the campaign.

  • How to effectively promote your brand or product in Xiaohongshu?

It is important to develop a long-term content strategy on your Weibo account as consistent and frequent user engagement is a key to boosting your account and getting the most out of Weibo’s business-friendly features and supports.

1. Influencer-backed content

Currently, to get your content successfully exposed on Weibo, influencer marketing is deemed to be the most and only helpful way. Unlike Douyin, only the top celebrities in China, the KOL who have a respectable amount of followers in China, or the experts in niche fields, are considerable. The right influencers are crucial in Weibo marketing for China.

2. Rewards offers

Brands find that giveaways and rewards campaigns are popular content on Weibo. The follower number often surges during this type of campaign. For instance, after account followers comment and repost the feed, they can get shopping coupons, a chance lucky draw, or even interaction with their beloved idols.

3. Weibo ads

Here we introduce 4 main types of ads for you to promote your Weibo feeds and connect with as many target audiences in China as possible. You can choose the following based on your goal and budget:

i. Fan Headline for Posts (博文头条)

It is the most used ad type on Weibo. If you want to place your post at or near the top of users’ feeds, this option can do it within 24 hours. The post will appear as “推广” (Promoted), or “热门” (hot) at the top of the feed. You can choose to promote the post to your existing followers, their personal connections, as well as based on different industries or interests. The price for a “Fan Headline for Posts” depends on your follower base; the more followers you have, the more expensive it is.

ii. Fan Tunnel (粉丝通)

The only difference between Fan Tunnel and Fan Headline is that the former targets all of the Weibo community, based on age, gender, region, interests, and so on, rather than just your account followers and their connections. It is suggested if you want to reach new customers in China and build your follower basis.

iii. Display Ads

An always effective traditional method in online marketing. These types of ads are shown on different pages and positions of Weibo in banner form, like the homepage of Weibo, and users’ individual timelines. The price is based on the banner size and its position and keyword association. When users click on these ads, they will land on the designated page.

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