If you’re looking to expand or expand further into the Chinese market, first of all, that’s almost definitely a great choice for your business – so congratulations on making savvy choices! Second, there are a few aspects of Chinese culture and business practices that you’ll need to know to move on successfully. WeChat, one key aspect of Chinese culture, cannot be overlooked when it comes to having a presence in the mainland Chinese market—and in related markets—but especially mainland China. A useful comparison to Western markets would be to observe that in Canada, you should have social media visibility if you want to become and stay relevant to consumers. In China, you need to have WeChat visibility if you want to become and stay relevant to consumers on any large scale.
Here are some key WeChat stats to back up this statement, to show why this platform is so essential to your business strategy, and how you can make the most of it.
1. WeChat has over a billion users each month.
The vast majority of those are inside China, with a hundred million or so (around ten to twenty percent) outside China. As discussed in Bloomberg, WeChat caters almost exclusively to the Chinese market, in large part because it is such a large market. For this reason, despite being one of the most-used apps in the world, most westerners have never used—and possibly never heard of—WeChat. You can leverage this information to pierce a lucrative market ahead of your competitors.
2. WeChat has 79% market penetration in China.
Of that percentage, 98.5% of 50-80-year-old smartphone-users use WeChat. Whatever your target demographics may be, WeChat is one of the primary ways you’ll need to reach that demographic. As the social media platform of choice in China, everyone is using it, and you need to be using it to reach them.
3. 900 million people use WeChat Pay each month.
To put this number in perspective, keep in mind that WeChat has over a billion users and China has a population of about a billion and a half people. WeChat Pay allows users to pay for things with the app, and almost all users use this method of payment. WeChat Pay together with Alipay represent the two main ways Chinese individuals expect to pay for goods and services.
4. Over 50% of users use WeChat Pay.
It is common for WeChat users to use WeChat Pay for necessities like food at grocery stores and almost as many (45%) use it for online shopping. If the above stats were not enough, these numbers show the sense in which WeChat is literally essential to the everyday working of the Chinese economy. Users don’t just use WeChat occasionally to pay for things. Consumers use it all the time, especially for essentials. Having WeChat Pay set up is essential for your business. To do otherwise would be like not accepting credit cards.
5. At least 83% of WeChat users rely on the app for work purposes.
While you might think of social media as something you use mainly for fun and only occasionally for work, WeChat is pervasive in all sectors of Chinese life. From keeping in touch with clients to keeping in touch with local business partners, you’ll need to be aware of and comfortable with this app, because it’s a fixture in Chinese commerce.
6. WeChat drove approximately $50 billion dollars into the Chinese economy in 2017.
It has continued to serve a pivotal role in the Chinese economy. Through gaming apps and related revenue streams, WeChat plays a direct role in China’s considerable annual GDP. The app needs to play a similarly critical role in marketing efforts.
7. WeChat has over 20 million active Official Accounts.
Official accounts allow businesses to position themselves in the app and give customers and business partners an official point of contact. 20 million represents a significant percentage of business in China. If you’re planning to reach this market, you’ll want to set up an account with WeChat. Doing so continues to be simpler if you have a partner who knows the ropes, although WeChat has recently started allowing overseas businesses to open their own accounts. For understandable reasons, WeChat takes great care when it comes to ensuring that only legitimate businesses and their affiliates can open Official Accounts.
8. WeChat Official Accounts meet the needs of businesses that have them.
There is an 83% satisfaction rating among account holders. If you’re wondering whether an Official Account will be helpful to you in the long run, keep in mind that these accounts have high satisfaction ratings among business users. Over 34% of business users report cutting costs considerably due to their Official Accounts, saving money due to useful apps that allow you to reach out to and keep in touch with customers without relying on costly, home-grown solutions.
9. WeChat users follow Official Accounts for news (72%) and promotions (41%).
Once you open your Official Account, you’ll want to keep in mind that your target audience will want two main things from you: interesting new information and ways to save money, in that order. In order to keep your Official Account popular and relevant, you’ll want to share regular updates that give users value and keep them interested in your business. The basic rules of online interaction will be the same here: to gradually ease people into the sales funnel, to give them regular updates without being intrusive, and above all to share information of value to them.
10. WeChat has reached almost total market saturation in China.
However, it continues to expand to neighboring nations and among Chinese expats. As the above numbers show, WeChat has very little room to grow in China because almost everyone uses it already. By using WeChat, you have the ability to reach a target market you won’t be able to reach in any other way. At the same time, WeChat also gives you the opportunity to forge new ground in Canada and in other related markets, where users may be actively seeking businesses willing to work with them on this platform. It would be wrong to think you only need WeChat if you’re doing business abroad. In fact, you could be missing out on some excellent opportunities right here and now.
If you’d like more information about WeChat, Periphery has the experience and knowledge you need. Contact us today to get started.