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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.

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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.

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China Comic & Games

China’s Latest Online Viral Game Makes You Clap for Xi Jinping

Smart propaganda – now clapping for Xi Jinping has become a competition.

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In a new online game that has come out during the 19th National Congress in Beijing, Chinese netizens can compete in applauding for Xi Jinping. The game has become an online hit.

The major 19th CPC National Congress started on Wednesday in Beijing with a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping that took nearly 3,5 hours.

The speech, that focused on China’s future and its rise in the world today, was repeatedly paused for the appropriate applause from the party members in the audience.

With the introduction of a new game by Tencent, people can now also clap along to Xi Jinping’s speech from their own living room. The game became an online hit on October 18. It was already played over 400 million times by 9 pm Beijing time.

The mobile game can be opened through a link that takes you to a short segment of the lengthy speech by Xi Jinping. In the short segment, President Xi mentions that it is the mission of the Communist Party of China to strive for the happiness and the rise of the Chinese people.

The app then allows you “clap” for Xi by tapping the screen of your phone as many times as you can within a time frame of 18 seconds. After completing, you can invite your friends to play along and compete with them.

The game has become especially popular on WeChat, where some users boast that they have scored a ‘clap rate’ of 1695.

If you’re up to it, you can try to clap as much as you can for Xi Jinping here (mobile only).
(Update Friday, October 20: the game link now redirects to the Tencent News site themed around the 19th Party Congress through desktop. On mobile, the game still works, and has been played over 1,2 billion times.)

With a score of 1818 you’re better than 99% of all players.

By Manya Koetse and Diandian Guo

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

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Digital

This Digital Device Now Helps Chinese Police Catch Traffic Violators

After RoboCop, here’s Guardrail Drone: this high-tech device makes it easier and safer for Chinese police to catch traffic violators.

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A new digital device makes it easier and safer for Chinese police to catch traffic violators. A local experiment with the police gadget proved successful earlier this year.

From now on, it might no longer be the police that warns drivers to drive slowly through construction zones or to get off the emergency lane. A new digital device can now help Chinese traffic police to send out warnings or to catch people violating traffic rules.

The automated device can be placed on the guardrail and is directly connected to the smartphone of the police officer controlling it. Through the camera on the device, the police can see when someone is driving on the emergency lane and can send out police warning signs and sounds through the speakers on the device.

On Chinese social media, a video on how the device works has been making its rounds over the past few days. Some netizens say the new device is just “awesome,” and others warn drivers not to use the traffic lane; the chances of getting caught are now bigger because of the police’s new helper.

The device was first successfully tested locally in May of this year at a Zhejiang Expressway, NetEase’s Huang Weicheng (黄唯诚) reported in July of this year.

Earlier in 2017, police also experimented with a new police robot, jokingly called ‘Robocop’ by netizens, to help police catching fugitives and answer questions from people at the train station.

In our latest Weivlog we will tell you all about this ‘guardrail drone’; how it works and where it has been implemented:

By Manya Koetse

NB: Please attribute What’s on Weibo when quoting from this article.
Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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