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Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Our weekly briefing on all things WeChat, featuring the latest news, campaigns, reports, case studies & events.


—What's New—

The latest WeChat news gathered from top sources


A number of official WeChat accounts: The Foodie Squad of the Greater New York, New York Rating Hall, which are similar to Instagram- or Twitter-verified influencer accounts, publish Chinese-language restaurant reviews, news, and discounts to tens of thousands of Chinese diners in NYC. Where once the likes of English-language print media and user-based digital platforms, such as Foursquare and Instagram ruled the market, these popular WeChat accounts are quietly starting to shape NYC’s dinning landscape without even most New Yorkers knowing about it.
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WeChat has pledged to increase its self-censorship regarding sensitive, pornographic, vulgar, and clickbait content. WeChat’s propaganda account, WeChat Pie (微信派), revealed that in 2018 a total of 40,592 accounts were banned and 79,032 articles were deleted. Coincidentally, last week, WeChat KOL Mi Meng (AKA China’s queen of clickbait) closed her account with 14 million followers, and we’ve also started to notice that a lot of self-managed WeChat accounts are starting to react a bit more carefully about how much they can push the envelope in terms of content. 
Read More: (In Chinese)


When Chinese business magnate, Pony Ma made an appearance at the latest press conference for the Chinese automobile manufacturer, Chang'an, it raised a lot of eyebrows. Turns out, Pony Ma was there to announce the release of the very first WeChat-connected car, which will be available in the second quarter of this year. Using WeChat while driving is a common practice in China. While this might not be the safest practice, nothing was mentioned about how this product will ensure safety measures. However, it does signal Tencent’s ambition on the Internet of vehicles, with its big data and cloud technologies. Buckle up. 
Read More: (In Chinese)


Auckland's WeChat city experience guide will feature what is claimed to be the world's first live-chat function, offering a convenient way for Chinese-speaking residents to share their local knowledge and experiences with potential tourists in China.
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—Campaign of the Week—

Recent noteworthy WeChat campaigns & case studies


WeChat mini-program for Chinese FITs to navigate Scotland 
Facts: Scotland’s national tourism board, VisitScotland, made increasing the amount of Chinese tourists a priority for 2018, one that became even more crucial after Hainan Airlines launched its first direct flight between Edinburgh and Beijing last June. VisitScotland first increased its presence on Chinese social media platforms before finally launching a new WeChat mini-program during the Lunar New Year. 
Features: Beyond a user-friendly scrollable map of Scotland, the mini-program goes deeper, offering three separate categories—places of interest, shopping, and dining—for popular locations. Then, to further draw attention to the breadth of attractions across the country, it breaks down the country into four main regions: Aberdeen, Dundee, and the eastern shore; Glasgow and the southwest; Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife, and the Borders; and the north, which includes the Scottish highlands.
Backstory: Currently, there are about 200 featured tourist spots across Scotland, mostly cultural attractions, scenic areas, and general places of interest. To make the mini-program truly Chinese-tourist friendly, Sellar-Johnston, the Market Manager of VisitScotland, said: “A listed spot need to make sure they have a Mandarin speaker or guide on staff, and if they have their marketing materials or information translated into Chinese, or whether they can work with Chinese payment systems like WeChat Pay or Alipay.
Our Take: Among the many destination mini-programs we’ve seen lately, this one is a very well done. The map is clear and concise, making it easy to navigate and see where you are, and is loaded with essential information for each location. The only thing we would have liked is a comment section similar to “yelp”, giving Chinese visitors an opportunity to judge it for themselves. 
Rating: 4 out of 5
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How Vipshop focuses on mini-program to battle e-commerce bottlenecks

Facts: China’s answer to “Gilt Groupe,” the leading online discount retailer Vipshop has increased user-growth via its WeChat mini-program, as well as rejuvenating the brand amid a growing crisis of e-commerce sites struggling to acquire new users, as consumers continue to be wary of navigating all sort of discount deals. According to the latest earnings release, the traffics on Vipshop’s WeChat mini-program has grown 38.3% year-over-year. Additionally, the company has seen a higher percentage of male and younger visitors on the mini-program than on its website, showing that its reach and user base are indeed expanding.
Features: Vipshop’s mini-program is a fully functional e-commerce site; the amount of information and content are no less than what a full e-commerce website could provide. It covers fashion, beauty, maternal and child products, homewares, and lifestyle and accessible luxury. Given the ease of using a WeChat mini-program (you don’t have an extra app download and you’re already using WeChat 24/7), it’s super convenient for users to check for Vipshop deals that hit live at any second.
Our Take: The mini-program was designed with this sense of urgency: there is a countdown bar on top of each product, indicating how much time remains, as well as how many people have already placed orders, urging the consumer to buy, buy, buy. 
Rating: 3 out of 5

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“I’ve had brands come to me and tell me they want to launch an advanced WeChat mini-game, before even having an official WeChat account. Certain basics of WeChat, like targeted ads, are often thought of as a “necessary evil” of WeChat marketing, but they are crucial.” —Adam Knight, Tong Digital Co-founder

—Insider Information—

Stay on top of WeChat's evolution

LOcal trends

As promised in last week’s WeChat edition, in addition to the 11 WeChat trend accounts in English, here are 9 top ones in Chinese, including some produced by WeChat, some tech-business publications, and some others that specialize in WeChat influencers. Have we missed any of your favorites? Let us know below where you get your WeChat information.

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—Star Power—

Provided by 

ALL EYES ON @SavisLook

Location: USA | Category: Lifestyle | Content: Diverse | Platforms: WeChat, Weibo & Instagram & Red & Youku | Following: 2.8M | Top Brand Mention: Top shop

SavisLook is a Chinese lifestyle blogger based in the USA. She is a diverse lifestyle blogger covering topics like fashion, beauty, travel, and fitness. She also publishes her content on many Chinese and international social networks including Weibo, Wechat, Red, Bilibili, Youku, YouTube, and InstagramSavisLook has some distinct advantages being based in the USA, but she is still producing excellent content and regular bases making her a go-to creator for many top brands.

—Deep Dive—

Must-read, in-depth guides, tutorials & reports


Taobao launches mini-program to compete against WeChat 

If you search for “Starbucks” (“星巴克”) on Taobao you might be in for a surprise. Instead of simply seeing a link to Starbucks’ Tmall store, you will see a menu linking you to a “Starbucks Mini-program” experience within Taobao, which even looks and feels like a WeChat mini-program…why now? Is this copycat product from Alibaba late to the game?  

Thomas Graziani from Walkthechat dissected the purpose behind, and came to the conclusion that Taobao does stand a chance. It’s in a strong position because of the sheer user volume. However, it will be challenging for Taobao to drive traffic to its Mini-programs, given the company’s weakness in content and social compared to Tencent.
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—Event Recap—

First-hand information from the event 


Last week saw the first “Luxury and WeChat” conference in London hosted by Tong Digital and Diligent Commerce, a fashion, luxury and lifestyle ecommerce agency. Established in 2014, Tong Digital offers brands technology-driven entry strategies into China’s online retail market. In the past, they’ve worked with several iconic British organizations, including BAFTA, Fortnum & Mason and Whittard of Chelsea.

The conference offered brands not yet present in China the opportunity for a back to basics WeChat marketing education — and perhaps a well-needed refresher for some of the industry’s giants. Here are three takeaways from the panel that reinforce some of the mainstays of WeChat marketing in the fashion and luxury industry, and why their importance should not be understated.
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