WeChat, also known as “Weixin” in Chinese, is a versatile app developed by Tencent. It serves as a messaging platform, social media platform, and mobile payment app. Users can send text and voice messages, make voice and video calls, share photos and videos, and even play games.
WeChat offers additional features like following official accounts, making online payments, booking taxis, ordering food, and more. It has become an essential part of daily life for millions of people in China.
Weibo is a microblogging platform similar to Twitter, launched by Sina Corporation in 2009. It has gained popularity in China and allows users to post short messages, photos, and videos, follow others, and engage in discussions.
Weibo is known for being a powerful platform for news, entertainment, and social interaction, with many celebrities, influencers, and brands having a strong presence on it.
Both WeChat and Weibo have played significant roles in shaping the digital landscape in China, connecting people, and providing a platform for communication and expression.
Overview of the social media landscape in China
According to Statista, China is projected to have over a billion Internet users by 2023, with significant growth expected. Despite the blocking of popular platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, Chinese social media sites like Douyin, WeChat, and Weibo have gained immense popularity, making China the largest social media market globally.
Chinese people are relying more and more on online platforms to express their opinions, seek product recommendations, and connect with others. With over a billion Chinese people now using the internet, it is evident that mobile devices play a significant role in China’s online landscape, with over 90% of users accessing the internet through their mobile devices.
Why are social media so important for brands in China?
Social media as a channel wins more trust from consumers. Consumers believe more in the message they directly communicate on a Chinese social media app, whether via WeChat or Weibo posts.
People get a more solid connection to the brand via social media and at the same time brands can reach Chinese consumers and interact with them. As a matter of fact, companies should develop a good digital marketing strategy on these platforms.
Since there are around more than 1 billion active users on WeChat, it became a must to be on that Chinese social media platform. So the success of microblogging platforms like Weibo became harder to pursue and users were affected.
More and more brands have developed a real engagement system (CRM – Customer Relations Management) on WeChat in order to create a relationship between them and their customers. So it became easier for clients to contact their favorite brands and get in touch with them by reading/watching their content.
Social media users in China
Around 90% of the Chinese population is active internet users, with social networking being particularly popular among netizens, especially the younger generation. The Z generation, born after the 1990s, comprises the largest portion of social media users in China. To achieve effective results in social media marketing, it is crucial to create content that specifically targets this group.
The Chinese social media ecosystem serves not only as a means of online communication, but also as a major source of news, entertainment, shopping advice, dating platforms, and e-payment services.
Understanding the user base of WeChat and Weibo is critical for successful marketing strategies, catering to the unique demographics, interests, and behavior of each platform’s audience. Here are key insights to note:
|WeChat has a diverse user base, with the majority consisting of young adults ranging from 21-30 years old.||Users are primarily drawn to the platform for personal communication, social networking, and news consumption.||Users engage in one-to-one communication, making it a platform for relationship-building.|
|Weibo’s user base is also predominantly young adults, with users under the age of 30 accounting for over 60% of its audience.||Users are attracted to Weibo for its highly interactive nature, where they can seek information, share opinions, and be entertained.||Users engage in micro-blogging, which allows for broader exposure and reach for contents.|
While WeChat is great for creating personal connections and building long-term relationships, Weibo’s broad reach and user engagement make it ideal for exposure and spreading your brand message.
Growth trends and predictions
Understanding the growth trends and predictions of WeChat and Weibo in China makes navigating the digital landscape easier. User statistics show that these popular social media platforms are expanding at an impressive rate.
In just over a decade, for example, WeChat has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity from having 2.8 million monthly active users to boasting 1.24 billion user accounts as of 2023.
These platforms aren’t showing signs of slowing down either; their continual evolution points towards exponential growth in the coming years. Given this trend, it’s logical to say that businesses that want to make significant strides on these platforms should keep up-to-date with changes and tailor their strategies accordingly.
After all, staying ahead of the curve could be pivotal for reaching highly engaged and mobile-savvy users across various demographics within China’s bustling social media market.
The Differences between Weibo and WeChat
Weibo and WeChat are both popular social media platforms in China, but they serve different purposes and have distinct features.
Here’s a comparison between the two:
Weibo is primarily a microblogging platform where users can share short messages, photos, and videos with their followers. It is often used for public discussions, news updates, and celebrity interactions.
WeChat, on the other hand, is a multi-purpose messaging and social media app that offers features like messaging, voice and video calls, Moments (similar to Facebook’s News Feed), and a wide range of mini-programs for various services.
Weibo has a larger user base compared to WeChat, with a focus on public figures, celebrities, and influencers. Weibo users can follow accounts and interact with public posts.
WeChat, on the other hand, is more personal and widely used for private messaging and connecting with friends, family, and colleagues.
Weibo offers features like hashtags, trending topics, and a timeline-based feed. It also allows users to repost and comment on others’ posts.
WeChat, besides messaging and calling, offers features like Moments, Official Accounts (for businesses and organizations), WeChat Pay (mobile payment service), and Mini Programs (third-party apps within WeChat).
Weibo tends to be more open and public, with users’ posts visible to anyone unless they have set their account to private.
WeChat, on the other hand, offers more privacy options, allowing users to control who sees their Moments and who can add them as contacts.
WeChat is known for its integration with various services, such as online shopping, food delivery, ride-hailing, and more. It also has a built-in wallet feature that allows users to make payments and transfer money to contacts.
Weibo, although it has some integration with e-commerce platforms, is not as extensive in terms of service integration.
In summary, Weibo is more focused on public sharing, discussions, and celebrity culture, while WeChat is a versatile messaging app with social media features and extensive service integration. Both platforms have their own unique advantages and cater to different user needs.
Which One To Choose Between Weibo and WeChat for Doing Business in China?
Choosing between Weibo and WeChat for doing business in China depends on your specific business goals and target audience.
Weibo is a microblogging platform with over more than 593 million active users. It allows businesses to share content, engage with users, and reach a wide audience. Weibo is particularly suitable for content marketing, influencer collaborations, and brand promotion.
Often referred to as the “Super App,” WeChat is a multipurpose platform that combines messaging, social media, and mobile payment functionalities. With over more than 1 billion monthly active users, WeChat offers features like WeChat Official Accounts and Mini Programs, making it an all-in-one solution for businesses. It enables customer engagement, e-commerce, and even in-app services like booking appointments or making reservations.
Ultimately, the choice between Weibo and WeChat depends on your business objectives and target audience. If you’re looking to build brand awareness and engage with a broad audience, Weibo might be a good option.
On the other hand, if you want a more comprehensive platform that allows for direct customer interaction and e-commerce capabilities, WeChat could be the better choice.
Luxury Brands on Wechat and Weibo
On WeChat and Weibo, you can find a wide range of luxury brands that have established a strong presence on these platforms. These social media platforms have become popular channels for luxury brands to connect with their Chinese consumers.
Here are a few examples of luxury brands that are active on WeChat and Weibo:
- Louis Vuitton: Louis Vuitton is a renowned luxury brand that engages with its Chinese customers through WeChat and Weibo. They share updates about new collections, collaborations, and events, and provide personalized customer service.
- Gucci: Gucci is another luxury brand that has a strong presence on WeChat and Weibo. They use these platforms to showcase their latest products, communicate with followers, and create interactive campaigns.
- Chanel: Chanel is known for its elegant and timeless fashion, and they have successfully extended their brand presence to WeChat and Weibo. They share behind-the-scenes content, fashion shows, and engage with their followers through interactive campaigns.
- Dior: Dior is a luxury brand that has a significant presence on both WeChat and Weibo. They regularly update their followers with the latest fashion trends, beauty tips, and exclusive events.
- Burberry: Burberry is a British luxury brand that has embraced WeChat and Weibo to connect with its Chinese audience. They share content that reflects their brand image, including fashion shows, new collections, and collaborations.
These are just a few examples of luxury brands that actively engage with their Chinese audience on WeChat and Weibo. By leveraging these platforms, luxury brands have been able to build strong relationships with their customers, provide personalized experiences, and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends.
Did you think about getting in touch with your customers?
For the brands knowing these trends and behaviors and using both Weibo and WeChat in their communication strategies could make a difference by giving content to their targets in order to assure them. So they will win the intended purpose in the end.
But it is crucial to understand the customers by doing User Experience (Ux) and adapt the conversion funnel in order to be sure to catch the attention of the users and also know why certain did not come to buy and convert.
Being adaptable and engaging in corrective actions is one of the keys to building a comfortable nest and acquiring customers by providing them assurance.
KOL marketing as social marketing formula
Celebrities and opinion leaders are the main communicators of product information. In fact, 49% of Chinese consumers depend on KOL recommendations and 84% trust online reviews by peers.
KOLs promote live-streaming and content style to drive sales significantly in one day. Several industries are involving KOLs in their marketing strategy (the food and beverage industry, the beauty and cosmetics industry, the automotive industry, and the maternal and infant industry).
Here are a few examples of KOLs on WeChat and Weibo:
- Austin Li (李佳琦): Known as the “Lipstick King,” Austin Li gained popularity by promoting beauty products through live-streaming on WeChat. He has a large following and is influential in the beauty industry.
- Becky Li (李佳琦): Becky Li is a fashion blogger and KOL on WeChat. She shares her fashion tips, outfits, and lifestyle content with her followers. Her fashion sense and recommendations are highly regarded.
- Tao Liang (陶晶莹): Also known as “Mr. Bags,” Tao Liang is a KOL who focuses on luxury handbags. He provides in-depth reviews, styling suggestions, and insider information on the latest handbag trends.
- Gogoboi (薛之谦): Gogoboi is a well-known fashion blogger and KOL on WeChat. He covers various fashion topics, including runway shows, designer collaborations, and celebrity fashion.
These are just a few examples, but there are many more KOLs on WeChat and Weibo covering various niches and industries. They play a significant role in shaping consumer opinions and trends in China.
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WeChat and Weibo are both popular social media platforms in China. WeChat is a versatile app that offers messaging, social networking, and payment services, while Weibo is a microblogging platform where users can share thoughts, photos, and videos.
Both platforms have a large user base and provide unique features that cater to different needs. Whether you’re looking for a convenient messaging app or a platform to share your thoughts with a wide audience, WeChat and Weibo have got you covered.
We are a China-based marketing agency offering cost-effective solutions to foreign brands interested in tapping into the Chinese eCommerce market. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how needed to succeed in this lucrative, yet complicated market.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency offers many digital marketing and e-commerce solutions, such as web design, e-commerce and social media marketing strategies, localization, market research, KOL marketing, and more.
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can schedule a free consultation with one of our experts, that will learn about your brand and present you the best solutions for your China market strategy.