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Digital Marketing in China: our top stories for July 2020

August 13, 2020 |   Christine Lee

This month, we talk about how brands earn loyalty from Chinese Gen Z and also how the Canadian government is easing visa rules for international students. Along with that, we review how e-commerce brands are incorporating live streaming into their digital strategies. For example, Alibaba uses livestreams to connect Europe to China’s future travelers. Finally, we look at the top 5 WeChat mini program functions and how global brands have incorporated it into their digital strategies.

1. How to earn brand loyalty from Chinese Gen Z

China’s Gen Z will soon become the most important group of Chinese consumers. Past surveys in this age group have shown that this consumer demographic is not particularly attached to any brand and are very happy to try out new things. While this behaviour might help emerging brands to generate sales, it also makes it harder for businesses who are looking to drive repeat purchases.

So how can companies earn brand loyalty from China’s Gen Z? The report stated that product innovation is no longer about being first to the market. Instead, it is about extending to identify the brands larger purpose. Consumers tend to be more attracted to brands with loyalty programs and brands in China have succeeded by paying close attention to creating high quality loyalty and rewards experiences. After the initial purchase, brands also be cautious about the post purchase experience.

Read more at Jing Daily

Learn more about social media advertising in China

2. Canadian government eases visa rules for international students

With the ongoing pandemic, the Canadian government has announced additional measures to support international students with a new programme in conjunction with Canadian learning institutions. These changes are designed to give international students more certainty about their ability to enter Canada once restrictions are eased. This means that international students will be eligible to work in Canada after graduation even if they need to begin their studies online from their home country.

The new measures include:

  1. Providing priority study-permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online, to ensure that permits are processed as quickly as possible.
  2. Allowing students to count the time spent pursuing their studies online abroad towards their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit if they have submitted a study permit application and if at least 50% of their programme is completed in Canada.
  3. Providing reassurances to international students who cannot submit all of the documentation needed to complete processing of their applications, and who choose to pursue programmes through distance learning, by implementing a temporary two-stage approval process.

Because of the immense cultural contribution international students has brought to Canada, this temporary process will allow students to count the time spent studying online abroad towards their post graduation work permit in the future.

Read more at University World News

Learn more about how COVID-19 will impact the student-agent-university relationship

3. How e-commerce brands are incorporating live streaming into digital strategy

China Internet Report predicts that live streaming marketing will reach 613 million users in 2020, making live commerce a booming industry sector. With 900 live streaming sites allowing consumers to interact and buy from real time, this sector is said to reach RMB 916bn (US$ 136 billion) by the end of 2020.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, home shopping channels have seen a surge in viewership with more Americans tuning into QVC. The current situation has caused brand to get more involved with live streaming, but they are shifting away from Instagram live due to the lack of shopping capabilities. Instead, brands are partnering with third part companies such as Livescale and Bambuser which off live streaming capabilities that can be integrated into the brands website. Therefore, it makes it simple for viewers to shop what they are viewing.

The biggest draw of live streaming is the interactive nature which bring in the element of both entertainment and e-commerce. For example, beauty and skincare brands host tutorials which means viewers can learn and ask personalised questions about how to use it.

Borrowing the success of live commerce in China, new companies are emerging aiming to reinvent the concept of home shopping. Popshop live is the newest platform gaining exposure in the industry. With its newfound popularity, Popshop live has been incredibly successful for brands that has used it. For example, Japan, LA reportedly generated $17,000 in sales from a single live stream.

With the growing popularity of social content platforms combined with the demand for e-commerce, now seems like the right time for businesses to invest in live commerce.

Read more at Econsultancy

Learn more about how to use video live streaming in your China marketing strategy

4. Top 5 WeChat mini program functions

The versatility of mini programs have made them essential for companies connecting with Chinese audiences. An increasing number of brands are now creating mini programs to serve over 400 million daily active users need. Here, we highlight leading examples of mini program functions across different industries.


Qunar intertwined live streaming and e-commerce to create a mini program offering users a centralised portal to browse and book travel tickets and hotel rooms. They also have a live feature where they introduce destinations and hot deals to its audience.


Starbucks has created a mini program to drive sales through WeChat. Customers can order through the mini program; both for pick up or delivery. Along with that, they created a campaign named “Say it with Starbucks’ where users can send gift cards with customised messages to friends and family directly through the mini program.

Palace Museum

In 2018, Palace Museum collaborated with Tencent gaming to create “Pocket Builder”. A game where players collect ancient treasures from around the Ming and Qing dynasty home. By integrating gamification into a mini program, the purpose to educate players on traditional Chinese architecture and art with it being readily shareable on users WeChat feed was made possible.


Merlin Entertainment, Legoland’s parent company, integrated a smart map into its mini program which allows visitors to track their live location in the park. This will allow visitors to browse the map in different categories such as attractions, dining, and shopping.

Tencent translator

Similar to the west’s Google translate, Tencent translation mini program covers 13 languages. The mini program can even translate images and read non-Chinese webpages.

Read more at Jing Travel

Learn more about WeChat mini program live streaming

5. Alibaba live streams connect Europe to China's future travelers

Chinese tourists have long been attracted to European destinations. In 2018, 6 million Chinese tourists traveled to Europe and spend $16.5 billion. Coronavirus may have halted Chinese tourists from exploring Europe, but Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel platform, has been connecting Chinese audiences with European destinations via live stream.

Jing Travel spoke to the Fliggy team to gain a better understanding of the company and how its helping destinations connect with China. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Fliggy acts as a one stop shop for Chinese travelers to book global travel services such as accommodation, flights, exhibitions, and car rentals. Fliggy’s goal is to enable Chinese travelers to experience local lifestyle and discover new places around the world.
  • Fliggy has developed live streaming partnerships with European travel organisations to bring Europe into the homes of travel-hungry Chinese.
  • Viewers can engage with the live stream host through the platform by asking questions or requesting to see specific locations.
  • Cultural destinations are able to build customised flagship stores on Fliggy’s platform. Travelers can browse information, recommendations, and packages all within a few clicks.

As part of the wider Alibaba Group digital economy, when partnering with Fliggy, companies can tap into Alibaba’s leading technologies in payments and e-commerce to form a comprehensive Chinese digital strategy making Fliggy all the more attractive for European businesses.

Read more at Jing Travel

Learn more about ways to target domestic Chinese visitors in tourism marketing

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