We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #94


Facebook as an important platform for Chinese business overseas
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently met with Cai Mingzhao, the director of China’s State Council and Internet Information Office (SCIO), on her Beijing visit. Access to the social networking platform has been blocked in China since July 2009, leading to speculation on how Facebook will position themselves in the market with the world’s largest population. Tech in Asia cites that a short missive from SCIO indicates that Sandberg was there to discuss the importance of Facebook as a platform for Chinese businesses to expand overseas.

Sina and Tencent are dominating the bigger picture of Chinese social media. Sina Weibo as the equivalent of Facebook in China has 5 million registered users, and 1.5 million Singapore users in August this year, as the result of their expansion in Asia. It seems to be a critical opportunity for Chinese companies to optimise both Facebook and Sina Weibo, in order to increase brand awareness and garner greater reach globally.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 12.39.19 PM

Weishi – new Vine clone to integrate with WeChat
Tencent already launched its eight-second video-sharing platform to integrate with both Tencent weibo and Wechat. Many people questioned if Weishi (微视) will be the equivalent of Twitter’s Vine in China. The Youtube founders have already made a vine clone in China earlier this year, called Wanpai (玩拍), which can be used on Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Renren.

Tencent released the app in 2011, however, it mainly focused on video calls across platforms, which is supported in Tencent QQ applications. Tencent also indicated that Weishi will definitely be different from the previous version. As Wechat tends to lean towards social networking than being just a chat app, Weishi will probably introduce a new content-sharing function on Wechat Moments (which has a similar format as Facebook Timeline).

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 12.47.19 PM

Line competes with Wechat with new stickers offering
In a move to catch up with chat app giant Wechat’s popular stickers, Line launched their new fun Wandoujia’s stickers on Wandoujia app store to boost their user numbers and visibility. Wandoujia is an alternative app store in China to the Google Play store. As one of China’s top app stores, Wandoujia has hundreds of millions of Android phone users in China, adding 500,000 new users per day. Nevertheless, compared to Wechat’s 130 million downloads on Wandoujia, Line has only been downloaded 3 million times.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 12.58.50 PM


Facebook tests autoplay videos
Facbeook has begun testing videos that play automatically in the newsfeed when a user scrolls past them. The system, which will be available to a small number of US Android users, does not include automatic audio; sound is enabled by clicking on the clip. It’s believed that the update is in preparation for the network’s new video ads, whose launch has recently been delayed from October, as we reported last week. However, according to AdAge, the ads will not follow the same format – they’ll still implement a click-to-play mechanism.


Facebook increases size of desktop and mobile ads
Facebook has increased the size of its page post link ads and page like ads in the newsfeed for both desktop and mobile. The changes, which look to make ads more visually engaging to users, and thus better for advertisers, can be seen below:


Twitter’s confidential IPO and overall changes
Twitter last week announced on their own network that they would be following in Facebook’s footsteps from 2012 and undergoing an IPO.


Interestingly, the offering will be confidential, unlike Facebook’s in May 2012, which has led to questions and comparisons between the two. Despite the initial dip in share prices when Facebook launched on the public market, it last week hit its highest ever share price of $45, with suggestions that Twitter has chosen this time to follow suit as a point for buyer confidence. There are, nonetheless, huge differences between the networks in size and scope and it will be interesting to see how the move pans out.

Meanwhile, there have been discussions about the potential future of Twitter as a platform going through changes as radical as those in its financial makeup. According to an article in the New Yorker, the microblogging network plans to further its transformation from a text-based service to a graphically intense one, with more immersive experiences based on individual platforms, particularly after the launch of Apple’s iOS7. Changes discussed include the removal of the ‘discover’ tab, with its format being applied more and more to the regular timeline, rendering it more similar to Facebook’s newsfeed. If these changes go ahead, it will mean that, in the coming years, Twitter will be a far cry from the network we know at the moment.

Google+ launches embeddable posts
Google+ has launched the ability for certain media outlets to embed posts, two months after Facebook did the same. The posts are available to the likes of Business Insider, Financial Times, TechCrunch and Elle and will be fully interactive, allowing users to +1, comment and follow a page from within the article. If they continue to follow Facebook’s lead, expect the functionality to be rolled out to all websites soon.

350 million Snapchat messages sent a day
Image-sharing network Snapchat now sees 350 million messages sent every day, up from 200 million in June. The network are also reportedly looking at how to monetise, with initial plans including in-app purchases, according to chief executive and founder Evan Spiegel. Spiegel has also admitted to speaking with Mark Zuckerberg, though the reasons behind their conversation are as yet unknown. Watch this space.

Social media and London/New York fashion weeks
As with any major event, London Fashion Week saw a great number of social media campaigns. Mulberry won the race to dominate online conversations, as their innovative teacup invitations helped them become the most talked-about #LFW brand, followed by Topshop Unique in second; the high street brand discussed backstreet preparations on Twitter and offered style appointments at its flagship Oxford Circus store. As for topics, 11% of posts talked about innovative invites and desire for a ticket to to shows, while 8% talked about competitions by designers.

Real-time social media campaigns were a feature of the week, as started by Tommy Hilfiger during its New York Fashion Week offering; the clothing brand received 200 million impressions on Twitter and Instagram after installing a 90 foot digital board behind the catwalk, featuring real-time social reaction to the collection. Topshop hadsomething similar for its #LFW show, a live Twitter gallery that displayed the various outfits before and during the event. Moreover, fans could ‘Customise the catwalk’ through an app that allowed them to change the colours of various clothes as they appeared.

It was not just clothes brands that got involved, though. Nivea asked fans to share their ‘Outfit of the Day’ using the hashtags #OOTD and #NIVEASOFT on Twitter or Instagram. They then shortlisted 15 finalists, who were subject to a public vote; the winner received a beauty consultation with expert Giles Deacon. With all this buzz, it’s little wonder that Pinterest created a social hub for the event, especially considering its highly visual nature. A number of key influencers, including Burberry, British Fashion Council, Mulberry, Selfridges and Ted Baker all created content specifically-designed for the application.

Specsavers and Penguin produce crowdsourced crime thriller
Eyewear brand Specsavers and publishers Penguin have teamed up to produce a crowdsourced crime thriller, by asking fans to submit a framework using the hashtag #youdunnit. Three stories will then be written up by novelists Alistair Gunn, Nicci French and Tim Weaver and released for free on ebook.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 15.11.28

Australians asked to post about citizenship on Instagram
The Australian government is asking its populace to celebrate Australian Citizenship Day by posting affirmations of citizenship on Instagram. A statement attributed to a government official said:

The citizenship affirmation is a way for Australians to publicly affirm their commitment and loyalty to this wonderful country. What we’re asking Aussies to do this Australian Citizenship Day is to create their own affirmation, starting with the words ‘As an Australian citizen, I affirm …’ and then explain a way they demonstrate what it means to be an Australian.