Connect with us

China Digital

The “YouTube Effect” of WeChat & Sina Weibo

Stories of YouTube stars turning into successful entrepreneurs have become manifold. With the so-called ‘Youtube Effect’, anyone can become an online fashion influencer or money maker from behind their computer. Chinese social media platforms WeChat and Sina Weibo have their own Youtube Effect.

Avatar

Published

on

Stories of YouTube stars turning into successful entrepreneurs have become manifold. With the so-called ‘Youtube Effect’, anyone can become an online fashion influencer or money maker from behind their computer. Chinese social media platforms WeChat and Sina Weibo have their own Youtube Effect.

Since launching in 2005, YouTube has provided society with a new way to consume, create, share and, most importantly, make money. When purely focusing on the platform’s advertising and marketing aspects, YouTube has enabled small businesses to reach millions of viewers, something that could previously only be achieved by big corporate names with equally big budgets.

The ability to upload one’s own videos showing off anything from beauty tutorials to guitar tickling has translated into liquid assets (a.k.a. ad fees) for a lucky few – thanks to those brands drawing in that one YouTuber to promote their product.

Other platform users have taken it one successful step further by landing lucrative deals, gaining fame and fortune (think Justin Bieber) or scoring the chance to create their own merchandising or fashion lines.

From ad fees to reader’s rewards

Vietnamese-American Michelle Phan became a poster girl of YouTube (8,4 million subscribers) when she got to set up a personal cosmetics brand just by diligently uploading make-up tutorials onto the video platform. Now, with all that being very fine and dandy, how do WeChat (also known as Weixin) and Sina Weibo fit into this mold?

“Luxury brands such as Chanel and Prada are turning to online celebrities for targeted marketing. When releasing products, these companies often invite online celebrities to advertise the products on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter,” AsiaOne on March 17 reports: “In China, there are 688 million Internet users so the knack of influencing even some of them could make one a ‘Key Opinion Leader’.”

China’s celebrities boast huge online flocks on leading social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat. They have follower numbers the average Western celeb could only rival in their wildest dreams.

These numbers can become real-life red bills by several means, from the traditional luxury brand ad fee to one of the more noticeable ones being a tip and virtual gift system. “When an online celebrity publishes a fashion-themed article on WeChat, China’s most popular instant messaging tool, readers can reward the author with tips ranging from 1 yuan (S$0.20) to 256 yuan by using its digital payment tool,” AsiaOne continues.

The Sina Weibo Effect

Between WeChat and Weibo, the latter especially attracts China’s young people; nearly 70 percent of its users are below the age of 30.

China’s Post-90s generation is one popular clientele demographic, with brands from all over the world trying to tap into it. Even Vogue China magazine has offered up a small WeChat preview to its new Vogue Me publication aimed at the Post-90s fashionista. Nevertheless, Weibo still excels in the P.R. stakes compared to WeChat. Its impact has been described as follows:

“If you have over 1,000 followers, you are a billboard; if this exceeds 10,000, you are like a magazine. If there are 100,000 people following you, you are a metropolis newspaper. With 1,000,000 followers, you’re basically a TV-channel.” Sounds like music to any brand’s ears – even if it is Justin Bieber singing.

Many a foreign brand today remains eager to further extend its reach across mainland China. Weibo, WeChat, as well as online streaming services such as Youku, have become indispensable components of their core strategies. Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry or Diane von Fuerstenberg (the brand, not the lady) have all managed to capitalize on their social media tactics in the Middle Kingdom. So has Durex, which is in fact one of the top foreign brands on Weibo currently, with 1,130,305 followers as of 2014.

Just think about it: What IT-girl, singer or actress wouldn’t want a brand new Diane wrap-dress or Burberry bag in her closet? One click to upload a pic can generate 100,000 hits and a boost in daily income. To tip it all off, they will have acquired a befitting must-have. It is, indeed, the YouTube effect. What’s on Weibo? Cold hard cash.

– By Elsbeth van Paridon


Featured image: Youtube image of Cyberstar Michelle Phan.

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Elsbeth van Paridon is a sinologist and fashion writer. Since 2010, she has been living in Beijing, where she has become an expert on all the ins and outs of the world of China fashion. She has her own blog on China fashion: Chasing the Fashion Dragon.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

China Digital

TikTok’s In-Video Search Function (And How to Activate It)

TikTok shows a glimpse of what in-video search is going to look like in the future.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

What is TikTok’s new in-video search function and how to activate it?

Twitter’s most awesome WeChat guru Matthew Brennan recently posted about an “in-video search function” launched in the Chinese social video app TikTok (抖音). (Click here to read about the difference between the Chinese and overseas version of TikTok).

As shown in a video posted by Brennan, the function allows TikTok users to select the face or clothes of a person appearing in a short video to search for other videos or images containing the same person or clothes.

The ‘vision search’ is a powerful new function within the super popular app.

The idea is that it becomes easier than ever for Tiktok users to find (and buy!) a piece of clothing, that perfect handbag, or even a snack featured in a video.

It also helps users to quickly find other videos in which an online celebrity appears. The function ultimately is an additional feature that keeps users scrolling and shopping within the app – increasing app traffic – as long as possible.

On September 16, Chinese media reported about the function as a “powerful” new tool that greatly strengthens the functionality of the popular short video app.

The function might not immediately seem completely new to Chinese app users; like Google Image Search, Baidu and Taobao also have similar functions (百度识图, 淘宝识图).

On e-commerce platform Taobao, for example, you can take a photo of an item you want (e.g. a certain snack as in example below) and Taobao will try to find the exact same product and list the online stores where you can buy it.

But TikTok’s in-video search function is on a whole new level; it does not require users to scan or upload a photo at all. It gives an indication of what visual search will be like in the future.

Whatever video comes by in your TikTok stream, you only need to click the “search” function (识图), select the part of the video you want to search for (you can drag the square from area to area), and TikTok will find the product or face you’re looking for – as long as there are comparable products/faces (it does so very fast).

Very much like Taobao, TikTok will recommend various (in-app) online stores where the product can be purchased.

Want to try out the function? For now, it only works in the Chinese version of the app and is still in the ‘testing phase’ and does not work with all videos.

Make sure you have an updated version of TikTok.

1. Go to “me” (我) page within TikTok
2. Tick the three lines in the top right corner
3. Go to the last option in the sidebar menu titled “lab” (实验室)
4. Activate the function (image below).

So now if you spot a dress you like and would like to buy, press the ‘search’ button on the right of a video, select the dress, and TikTok becomes like your personal shopping assistant looking for similar dresses for you.

Tiktok makes shopping supereasy.

This really makes online shopping more addictive than ever, and also makes it more difficult for people in online videos to hide where they bought their clothing, or what other videos they are in.

Read more about Tiktok here.
Read more about Chinese apps here.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

Continue Reading

China Digital

Didi Riders Can Now Have “Verified Party Members” Drive Them Around

Party-building 3.0? Didi has got it covered.

Manya Koetse

Published

on

First published

This is Party-building in the new era: Didi now allows users of its Premier Car Service to let a verified Party member drive them to their destination.

On September 20, as the People’s Republic of China is nearing its 70th-anniversary celebrations, the country’s most popular taxi-hailing app Didi published an article on Weibo and WeChat explaining its verified Party Member Driver Program.

Recently, riders in Beijing may have noticed something different at Didi’s Premier Car service, which is called “Licheng” 礼橙专车 since June of last year.

Some of Licheng’s drivers now have a red background to their profile photos accompanied by a Communist Party emblem. Upon clicking the profile of these drivers, customers will see that this driver is a Party Member Driver (“党员司机”) – meaning that the Didi driver’s status as a Party member has been verified through Didi’s “Red Flag Steering Wheel” program (红旗方向盘项目) that was set up in November 2018.

Didi’s “Red Flag Steering Wheel” program (红旗方向盘项目) that was set up in November 2018. Image via Guancha.

Didi writes that these drivers can also be identified as Party members through the red sticker on the dashboard at the passenger side, which literally says “Party member driver.”

The article explains that the recent project is an effort to contribute to China’s Party-building in the digital era, and that Didi aims to establish a Party member community within its company.

This car is driven by a Party member (image via Didi/Weibo).

The company is apparently planning to make this community a lively one, as it promises to provide online and offline activities that will help these drivers stay up to date with the latest developments within the Party, and that will increase their “Party awareness.”

Starting this month, Didi will reportedly also offer “patriotic classes” to all of its drivers via its online classroom program.

China has more than 88 million Party members. Party membership does not come overnight; those who want to become a Communist Party member need to attend Party courses, pass written tests, be recommended by other members, and pass a screening (read more here).

As for now, riders cannot manually pick to have a Party member as their driver; a nearby driver will be automatically selected when they order a car – if it is a Party member, they will know straight away from the driver’s profile.

For now, Didi has set up “mobile Party branches” in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and a number of other cities.

On Weibo, some see the initiative as a marketing move from Didi’s side. “If you hear the driver is a Party member, you know it’s reliable. It’s a good thing.”

The past year was a tough year for Didi, after the murders of two young women by their Didi driver made national headlines, causing outrage and concerns about customer’s safety when hailing a car through the Didi company.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Support What’s on Weibo

If you enjoy What’s on Weibo and support the way we report the latest trends in China, you could consider becoming a What's on Weibo patron:
Donate

Facebook

Instagram

Advertisement

Contribute

Got any tips? Suggestions? Or want to become a contributor? Email us as at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Popular Reads