Lessons for the West: What China can teach us about social and mobile

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Almost a year ago, while visiting China on business, I was faced with the fact I would be living for a week without Facebook, Google, or Twitter, and that I was going to experience a very different social media to the one I was used to. China is one of the most exciting countries when it comes to the future of social media and digital; but as a Western marketer, it can be hard to understand, and most brands are still struggling as to how to best communicate to a Chinese audience whose behaviour is often very different to ours in the western world.

Not only are their social networks totally different, with the likes of WeChat and Weibo for example, but Chinese usage of social, digital, and mobile is streets ahead of western behaviour patterns. As you’ll know if you’ve read our Digital in 2016 report, China’s population represents 18% of the global population, yet, they represent 28% of the world’s active social media users and 35% of unique mobile users globally. Not so surprising when you realise 99% of the Chinese population own a mobile (vs. 92% in the UK), and 74% own a smartphone (vs. 71% in the UK). And this has a huge impact of their behaviours: China is the 3rd country after South Korea and UAE when it comes to M-Commerce adoption. The percentage of Chinese people having bought something online via a mobile phone in a month is 34% (vs. 27% in the UK) – meaning there is a lot we can learn from the digital and mobile world in China.

The complexity of the Chinese digital ecosystem is one of the reasons why the China Connect conference, now in its 6th year, has quickly became such a success, along with the quality of the speakers. This year, over 450 attendees from 20 countries will attend the conference in Paris on the 6th and 7th of April. Attendees will meet the leading experts when it comes to Chinese consumer trends, digital, mobile and technological innovation in China, including, Pete Lin, Managing Director of We Are Social in Shanghai, who will speak at China Connect on how to create effective social media campaigns in China.

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Mobile social platforms will play a key role in his speech as this year’s China Connect theme is “Get Mobile” – with 600+ million mobile internet users in China (i.e. almost as many as internet users), the impact of mobile on marketing – be it content, social CRM, mobile commerce, is huge and this is a great opportunity to understand from the best.

For more information, you can visit the conference’s website, or check out its video teaser and list of speakers.

I’ll be there, along with Pete – do not hesitate to ping him or myself if you want to meet to discuss how We Are Social can help you set up a social media strategy for your brand in China – we’ll love to help out!