Social Network

Social media work in the Chinese market

Transcript of the webinar by Victoria Kharakhash, director of the Kiwi agency.

The main topic of the article is the difference between Chinese digital and Western digital. What social networks are there in China? And also how much does Chinese SMM cost.


And why am I talking to you about Chinese SMM? Because for the last 1.5 years I have been living in Shanghai. She attended many lectures and conferences. And I, as an SMM specialist, was very interested to know how the local digital differs from the Ukrainian one. What is the difference between social networks and the tools in them?


The course “Effective SMM: Promotion of Projects in Social Networks” is designed for those who want to master a new profession of an SMM specialist. You will be able to independently create a plan for publishing content, learn how to launch advertising campaigns and analyze their results. Bring leads and sales from social networks to customers.

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Before talking about social media, I want to take a closer look at marketing mistakes.



Different mentality, different understanding. Marketing should be different.

1. Request an email when entering a site or somewhere else.

As it is customary for us: we register on the site, and everywhere they ask for e-mail.

The Chinese don’t really use e-mail, many don’t even have one. Therefore, you need to ask for a phone number, but basically everything is tied to WeChat, which we will talk about later. It is the main social network in China and the most popular.

2. Using Western Colors

We are used to minimalism. For them, there is a lot of blue in it and not enough red. The Chinese love everything to be bright, rich, noisy, funny, to have a lot of banners.

We make sites more in the western style. Therefore, when we develop something for the Chinese market, we need to keep this in mind and do what they like. Unless, of course, the target audience is the Chinese.

3. Focus on desktop versus mobile.

Chinese people live with mobile phones more than we do. We use computers, laptops. They are doing more and more from the mobile. Therefore, the mobile version is a must have.

4. Lack of influencer campaigns

The Chinese are very fond of opinion leaders, bloggers, celebrities. It is very important to attract opinion leaders in advertising campaigns, because without them there will not be such a coverage of the desired target audience.

5. Invite users directly to the store instead of the WeChat page.

Also, everything we do is important to link to WeChat. Invite to account, to a page in WeChat. Use WeChat as a platform for communicating with consumers and process requests there.

6. Hosting outside of China.

I think many of you know that half of the sites in China are blocked, including YouTube, Google, Facebook. It should be borne in mind that if you are developing sites and your hosting is outside of China, it may not open, it may open slowly, and you will have to use a VPN. And the Chinese will most likely not use it, so your site may not even be seen.

A very important point is the ability to pay through WeChat, through Alipay. People in China are used to paying with WeChat.

Another very important difference between our market and the Chinese is the use of QR codes.

It seems to me that 6 years ago in Ukraine they tried to instill the use of QR codes in advertising campaigns, on boards, but nothing came of it. And for the Chinese, scanning a QR code is a common activity, they scan hundreds of QR codes every day. Therefore, this point should also be taken into account in your advertising campaigns.

Even less important (although it may seem strange to us) is the meaning of numbers. The Chinese are very attentive to the meaning of numbers, and this should be used. For example, “four” in Chinese is consonant with the word “death”. That is why the Chinese try to avoid fours in their advertising campaigns and in life in general.

Eight symbolizes wealth. Therefore, they always use eight eights even in passwords for Wi-Fi.

For them, “8” is cool and “4” is bad. And this must also be taken into account.

Another interesting point. It is imperative to use Black Friday for advertising. In China it is 11.11 – the day of the lonely These days, the Chinese are buying up everything they can, because all companies, all brands make very big discounts.

The gift culture in China cannot be ignored.

There is such a topic as “red envelopes”. WeChat also has a feature where you can send a red envelope to any friend or in groups. People open it and receive a certain amount of money.

You can send any amount to your fans, and a lot of advertising campaigns are built on this. Everyone loves a balloon, everyone loves to get paid, and you can attract more people that way if you give red envelopes to your subscribers in honor of something. This is one of the tools for promoting and attracting the target audience.


QR codes are everywhere in China. They can be found on almost any product in the store, scanned, transferred to special groups in WeChat. Basically, these are WeChat transitions to groups to official accounts. People in China visit websites less than they use WeChat.

Chinese digital ecosystem integration


If we’re talking about e-commerce, it’s Taobao and Tmall.

These are the largest commerce platforms. There are even some people who are promoting on Taobao and Tmall as SEO specialists. This is a separate promotion service there to be higher, so that your products, your store is higher than that of competitors.

Payments. Alipay and WeChat are the most popular payments, they are monsters.

Almost half of the Chinese do not carry cash, do not use cash, but pay everything online.

Any supermarket, restaurant, even a grandma with a tray who sells vegetables and fruits has a QR code. You can scan a QR code using WeChat and transfer payment for goods to a Chinese grandmother from your account in a second.

Social networks. Now the monster, the leader is WeChat. There is also QQ and Sina Weibo. WeChat is the leader in the market, and promotion should be done there first of all.

Video Streaming has become very popular over the past few years. One of the popular sites is Youku. If we are talking about search engines, this is Baidu, since Google is blocked. Therefore, if you have a website, you need to advance in the Baidu search engine.


7 – here is the active link.

Basic. Current statistics:

  • over 938 million active users – monthly audience;
  • 12 million official WeChat accounts;
  • over 200,000 WeChat developers make separate apps for WeChat.

What WeChat Users Do


WeChat is a mixture of Facebook, instant messengers and Privatbank with the ability to see what our friends are doing, share information in “moments”. Moments is like a Facebook news feed, where you post your posts and see posts from your friends.

At the same time, there are official accounts. You subscribe as you do to brand pages on Facebook, and at the same time you can pay anything, even utility bills, by scanning the QR code on a utility bill, you can send money to friends within 2 seconds. Transfer any amount of money to companies, friends, or someone else.

This is very convenient. That is why WeChat is everything for the Chinese people. And when you live in China, you use WeChat every day to solve some everyday issues: paying for tea, latte, in a store, on the street or utility bills.


If we are talking about the TOP 10 most popular applications in China, WeChat comes first, then QQ, Alipay, Taobao and all the others. I mainly use these four.


WeChat audience is growing and aging. Now the main audience is 26-35 years old.


Who do we add to WeChat

We used to use WeChat a lot for dating, add strangers. Basically, the Chinese add foreigners as well. It’s more for work now. These are work contacts.


The time spent on WeChat is increasing. People use WeChat for more than 4 hours a day.

We see how the demand for it increased in 2015 and 2016. The average duration of using WeChat is 66 minutes per day.


Chinese people get up, come to and leave work earlier than we do. Therefore, their activity peaks are different from ours.

Why unsubscribe from WeChat accounts


As a rule, content is rarely updated, the same is published as elsewhere, or if the content is not relevant to the community and is not interesting to the target audience.


These are actually yesterday’s peaks at 9am.

And these are common typical Facebook picks.


These are 9: 30-10: 00 am and 10:00 pm.

We see that in China it is five in the evening, when people leave work, go by transport and come home. People visit us mostly later.

The breakdown is by day of the week and by how people open and react, how much they post and how much they view.


We see that on weekends people are very active looking through official accounts and reading articles, everything that was published there.

Why join groups?


At the moment, the main reasons are still related to work. These are working groups, for example, corporate, for company employees or some kind of professional get-togethers, business networking. And then – free time for development.

What accounts do users subscribe to


News, informational, for bloggers, business accounts and, of course, personal accounts of interest.

Why pay from mobiles offline?

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44% of people don’t carry a cache with them at all. And this must also be taken into account.

When using WeChat Pay

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In supermarkets, shops, online shopping, restaurants, malls, even in transport. You can pay for a taxi via WeChat.

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There are two business accounts: a subscription and a service account.

The main difference is that all Subscription accounts are stored in one place. You could say Subscription is a ghetto, you subscribe and then don’t go there. People do not go there, they collapse in this one icon, and if you click on it, you will see all your subscription accounts that they subscribed to.

In this regard, it is better to use Service account. Because when you make an update, your target audience sees it immediately on their WeChat, from above. People don’t need to go in, click again.

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The most important difference is that you can publish a Subscription account for more than 4 updates per month, but only 4 updates for a service account. That is, this is just 4 news, 4 releases of your informational publications per month.

If we are used to the fact that on Facebook people on brand pages update once a day (this is more like a Subscription account), then for service accounts it is only 4 posts per month.

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Again about opinion leaders.

They are divided into 3 categories: celebrities, experts and Wang Hong (online stars).

More and more online stars have appeared in recent years. These are people whom nobody knows offline, but online they collect millions of subscribers, and the Chinese follow them on social networks.

Especially nowadays a lot of Wang Hong do live streaming, show their life online, arrange video broadcasts.

And if we attract celebrities to our events, the reach increases millions of times.

For comparison: I was at one event, where they talked about rates, how much opinion leaders in China charge. It is very expensive. One opinion leader in China can take an amount equal to an advertising campaign with 20 opinion leaders in Ukraine and Russia.

Therefore, once again it is worth thinking about whether there are budgets for promo if you are going to promote in China. Because today it will be very difficult for us to promote something online without promotions.

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Mini Programs appeared on WeChat a year and a half ago. These are such applications inside WeChat.

If earlier people ordered mobile applications for iPhones, androids or mobile versions of websites separately, now in China it is more popular to do Mini Programs inside WeChat. Even big brands, big companies develop separate “apps” for WeChat and embed them inside it.

Why? Because you don’t have to build anything separately. There are no updates, no notifications that annoy people. And this is very convenient, because all Chinese and those who have lived in China for a long time use WeChat every day, and it is convenient for them.

On the slide – an example of the “Mobike” company. These are bicycles that can be rented. They are all over Shanghai: you can find bicycles near every metro station, at every intersection. Having scanned the QR code, you can use these bicycles for a few yuan, that is, for 4-8 hryvnia, wherever you need to go.

How to find mini-programs

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You can scan yourself, a friend can send you a link to the mini-program. Or scan the QR code. Or the third option – if you know the name of this program, you can find it.

WeChat Ads

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Advertising on WeChat is much more difficult than on Facebook. On Facebook, you can connect your card and start launching an advertising campaign.

WeСhat forbade official companies to launch ads for a very long time. Imagine what the WeChat ad budgets were if only the largest companies could afford it.

There are three main types of ads:

  • Moments,
  • banner ads on WeChat,
  • via influencers.

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Fixed cost per 1,000 impressions – from 1,200 hryvnia.

You can compare how much cheaper it is to run ads on Facebook.

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This is how ads look like in Moments, that is, in your news feed. Basically, just like on Facebook, you see ads for brands that you haven’t subscribed to before.

There are various pitfalls for both companies registered in China and foreign companies. These can be different conditions. You can learn more about this information by following the link.

And you can target, as elsewhere, by location, interests, age, gender, devices.


Banner advertising. The cost of a fan is from 8, this is about 15 yuan, about 60 hryvnia on average.

Third way: Key Opinion Leaders


Links where to look for them:

Influencers WeChat Sponsored Posts are great results, but you have to have budgets for them.

Live Streaming Platforms


The trend of the last two years. You can become super-mega-popular in China just by filming your life, talking about something, even ordinary everyday things. The Chinese are very fond of European appearance. If you are a pretty blonde with blue eyes and white skin, you can sit in a restaurant and eat something, or paint, or walk and tell what you see – and so you can become an opinion leader in China.


325 million online views as per 2016 report.

There are five main ones.

First – Meipai, then – Yizhibo.

Tmall Live Streaming is app store. Imagine our “Rosette”, but with the ability to watch live broadcasts of the platform, where you see and immediately buy. The user can see a live broadcast of what he is buying now, he can watch the products right at that moment.


Another Live Streaming platform is Huajiao. These are the guys who made the world’s first 3D Live Streaming platforms. Here you can see through virtual reality glasses what the product looks like in 3D. Brands often use some kind of events, for example, sports.

Range Rover was broadcasted live at the car show, and you could see what it had inside, spin it. And of course, the feeling of such Live Streaming is different.


Inke is more for educational content. Many teachers conduct Live Streaming of their lectures there. That’s over 17 million monthly active users.



I asked my colleagues in the market, three digital agencies (two in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong) for prices for promotion in social networks and digital in general.

If you look at the package “SEO + social networks + retargeting”, you will get $ 5,000.

For the creation of a WeСhat-account and verification – 7,000 yuan, this is 28,000 hryvnia.

The difficulty is that if you can create an unlimited number of brand pages on Facebook, and it’s all free, then you have to be Chinese on WeChat. You link your WeChat account to your SIM card. One Chinese can create only 5 WeChat accounts, there is a limit for companies.

What is the second difficulty – navigation in the admin panel, WeChat – in Chinese. Therefore, even if you decided to work further on your own, you found a Chinese who tied this WeChat account for the company to your passport, and you decided to create and click something by typing, the second difficulty – everything will be in hieroglyphs. And you either need to study the manuals on the Internet, where each step is detailed in detail, translated from Chinese into Russian. Or put a Chinese person next to him, who will translate, roughly speaking, where to sign the company, the name, where is the phone number and something else.

These are the difficulties.


Here’s another WeChat marketing company – $ 600 a month. The guys sell their services cheaper. But this is only a Wechat account.



Other guys also have a standard promotion on Wechat – 8,800 yuan. This

35,000 hryvnia without advertising budgets, only for management. And this is the minimum package.

For example: promotion on Facebook, depending on whether you apply to freelancers or an agency, can be found for 7 or 10 thousand hryvnia, without advertising budgets.


This is also SEO distribution, website, links and social media.

Author: Victoria Kharakhash, director of the Kiwi agency


Network Marketing.

The Chinese like to do everything in groups. Even if they go somewhere, you can often see that overseas Chinese people go in groups. They can buy goods collectively. There are even such services: if you want to buy something, it will be cheaper if you bring 10 people and they buy. Therefore, understanding the specifics of the Chinese, the fact that they like to bring 15 other Chinese to buy something cheaper, a topic such as network marketing, you can try.

What are the secrets of Chinese design for Chinese people?

In China, it is important for a website to have a lot of photos, good visualization.

If you install the Taobao application and see how products are sold there, they always have a very beautiful visual, 150 options for product photos – both sideways, and in profile, and large, and you can watch a video with the product … If there are certificates, they must be posted. That is, there should be a lot of beautiful photos – the Chinese are used to flipping and looking a lot.

Most of the Chinese sites I’ve seen are just eyebrows. There is no living space, there is a banner on a banner. And I was scared even to be on this site for 5 minutes. The Chinese are used to it. Everything there just blinks, everything glows, everything is motley, bright. And I don’t understand where the banners are, and where the site itself is. This is tough and unusual for our eyes

Where is it better to select news feeds?

News feeds are always tied to something. For example, the Chinese “Black Friday” is considered to be a good news item, for them it is November 11 – the day when the Chinese spend all their money.

By and large, companies inflate prices much in advance, and then on November 11 they allegedly make a big discount: 50%, 70%. But in fact, it turns out not cheaper than usual. However, the Chinese are buying everything up like crazy. And this is confirmed by many of my acquaintances Chinese.

I myself participated in the 11.11 sales last year. In popular stores, for example, Gap, Marco Polo and other popular brands, at 00.00, when it starts 11.11, you may not have time to buy. Because they put into the cart in advance all their purchases that they plan to make, and at 00.00 they click the “Buy” button. And at this moment all of China is buying something on Taobao. Everything hangs – applications hang, computer, mobile, browser versions hang, goods fly away in a second.

Last year I could not buy myself a down jacket at 00.01. There was a great price for a cool winter down jacket, but I didn’t have time to buy it, although right away, at 00.00, I pressed the “Buy” button. Since there are 25 million people living in Shanghai alone, and many millions of Chinese across China want to buy something at this moment, this is not realistic. Everything ends very quickly.

Where can I find events relevant for the Chinese?

There is a cool Smart Shanghai site, but it’s more for expats. However, I’m sure you can find sites in other cities as well.

The site “Smart Shanghai” lists events that will soon take place in Shanghai, you can watch and do something under them. There are a lot of music festivals and sports events.

What are the features of WeChat?

The first is that you can now absolutely free of charge test the market, test Chinese SMM, create, as in the good old days on VKontakte, a free group. The group is created within 3 seconds. Anyone can create it.

But initially the group is 500 people. Then you have to pay for the opportunity to increase the number of fans in the group. You can add people to a group, invite all your friends, share a QR code on the group, and everyone will see it in your Moments.

There are spammers. I cannot say otherwise, this is such a cheap, gray method. This is a posting in different groups of your QR code.

The guys have 100 thousand different groups, according to different target audiences and interests. They post the QR code of your group and briefly talk about it. And then people follow the QR code and join your group.

This is the fastest way to try something in Chinese SMM. Cheap and cheerful.

They charge for invitations, for spam by group, by friend, by “Moments”.

For more serious work, an official account is created. To do this, they turn either to familiar Chinese people or to a Chinese digital agency. You yourself will not be able to do anything normally there, because the interface is not user-friendly, everything will be in Chinese.

And the third is work through opinion leaders. But this is also expensive.

These are the basic tools. And, of course, quite expensive advertising on WeChat.

Chinese SMM is not cheap. You need to prepare budgets. It seems to me that 50,000 hryvnia per month is just the bare minimum to do anything. For the Chinese market, create a WeChat account in order to post something there once a week. And we are not yet talking about attracting celebrities or online stars.

As Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, said, WeChat is like email, only much faster and easier. I started the webinar with the fact that people do not use email, email marketing is impossible, mailings are impossible, everything is done through WeChat. There is also an opportunity there, there is feedback, statistics on the opening of your publications, how many people viewed, who unsubscribed – and this is a bit like email marketing.

More about lead generation. One moment surprised me. As a marketer, digital specialist who launches advertising campaigns, where the goal is to go to the landing page, to the site, where it is important to track traffic, where people came from and how they will act on your website or in your online store, I see: Everything is completely different in China.

For example, in Ukraine we advertise online so that people come to our restaurant or store offline.

And in China, you are more likely to see QR codes hanging in an offline store, on the door, at the checkout or on tables in restaurants with an invitation to join, subscribe to the company’s WeChat account. There are more people generating traffic from offline to online, where you subscribe to a company’s account and receive news and, perhaps, then you will be more loyal and use the services of this or that company a second time, or buy this product.

That is, they generate no longer from WeChat to the store, but from the store to WeChat. And that’s what surprised me.

To summarize what has been said.

The Chinese mentality is very different from ours. Do not forget that everything – design, logic, and suggestions – must take into account the Chinese mentality. I would study this topic in detail, read, google articles. How they shop, how they shop, who shop, etc.

If we are talking about the most solvent target audience in China, these are girls, married, unmarried, about 35 years old. They mostly buy.

Everything comes from the mentality. Married women are provided by their husbands with everything they need, so they spend their salaries on themselves. I talked with a Chinese woman, and she said that in China girls are raised like princesses. Therefore, they are used to spending the bulk of their salaries on the beauty segment, on shopping, on retail.

If we are talking about e-commerce, Taobao is a platform where everyone is bought and sold, this is a hobby, this is a pastime. People spend their free time there. As we scroll through the Facebook feed, in China people scroll through Taobao and see what interesting things can be bought there. They are interested in discounts, things, products. This is really a cult. Online shopping in China is three heads taller, bigger, wider, bigger than in Ukraine or Russia.

These are very great prospects for entering the Chinese market. If you have something to sell.

It makes no sense to create a separate site, separate applications. If you have a product or service, go to Taobao. You open your store there and buy SEO promotion in Taobao itself so that you are shown higher in the search results than other people.

Well, WeChat is like social networks that will help generate traffic for your online store.

Whether the Chinese audience is responsive to advertising campaigns in other languages. For messages or pictures in the same English?

Doesn’t seem to respond to me. Everything needs to be adapted for the Chinese. If the thing is in English, 80% of the Chinese will close, will not come, react, they will perceive it as spam. Everything needs to be adapted for the Chinese.

And do not forget that we are not making a banner, so calm light, where there is one beautiful template, a font. We make a lively, cheerful, in order to please the Chinese and attract their attention.

I’ll find a site for you. This is graphic designer hell. Because when we get to such a site, our first desire is to close and sprinkle ourselves with holy water. And many sites are just gloom.

In Ukraine, I did not get to any webinars, lectures on Chinese SMM. If you have a goal of entering the Chinese market, which is huge and promising, you can think about it. But you need to immediately understand that these are completely different budgets. You need to make money in other markets first in order to invest in promotions in the Chinese market.

But it seems to me that all investments, if you approach marketing correctly, will pay off. Because their ability to pay and reach millions of people is very large. Everything is bought and sold in China.

How are foreign artists represented on WeChat?

I have not met foreign artists on WeChat. I know that foreign artists promote themselves comprehensively. This includes WeChat, Weibo, and Youku. Youku is like our YouTube, where artists dub their video content. And the most important thing is that all video content should come with adaptation, with subtitles, with characters in Chinese. Everything must be translated into Chinese.

I know this because one Ukrainian artist made a similar request while I was living in China. I asked to find specialists in China for my promotion on the Chinese market. I talked with colleagues from Hong Kong. They said that everything should be integrated – WeChat, Weibo and Youku.

Weibo is less popular now. But as far as I understand it is good for coverage.

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