China 2021

Do you want to invest in China? Here are the 2021 trends

29 Jan 2021

WeChat, miniprograms and channels: the 2021 trends to conquer the chinese market

In China, the economy has bounced back much faster than in other countries and, a year on from the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, it started accelerating again, so much so that it closed 2020 with a positive balance (unique in the world). The solidity, vitality and desire to renew itself make the Asian market one of the most attractive also for 2021, for foreign investors as well. Trying to win over the Chinese public is not an easy task, but by studying the trends of the moment it is possible to plan an appropriate strategy.

Why you can’t ignore WeChat

The driver for brands wanting to carve out a communicative and commercial space on the other side of the Great Wall could be WeChat. Subscribing and using the most popular messaging app in the Chinese subcontinent (over 1.3 billion monthly active users) offers endless possibilities for business development.

What is WeChat?

  • A social network on which to share brand and commercial content
  • A real instant chat to communicate with users
  • A platform that can integrate other apps and functionalities
  • A portfolio for online purchases and payments
  • A space which also includes some public services

This short list helps to understand how multifaceted WeChat is and why it has become the preferred tool to tell your business story and build your brand in China.

In 2020, the platform has become the privileged venue for many streaming virtual events, the ideal space for gaming (via the Mini Games app counting 500 million active users each month) and influencer marketing initiatives capable of nurturing brand awareness and increaseing online sales through integrated mini e-commerce shops or third-party portals.

Ten years after its launch, WeChat has everything it needs to become the focal point for companies wanting to break into the Chinese market. This year, 2021, new interesting integrating functions will be introduced and its ecosystem will expand even further, while the role of its sister apps like Miniprograms and Channels – perfect for interacting with users and selling via apps – will be even more central.

Green light for miniprograms and channels

Miniprograms and Channels are the partners capable of making WeChat a high-potential business tool on which to focus in 2021 for carving out a space in the Chinese market.

Looking for agile tools that will allow you to interact with the largest and most important online Chinese community? Do you want to try not only to communicate but also to sell your products directly in the apps to the local public?

Here are the right solutions for you.

Miniprograms are sub-apps built inside the platform, capable of increasing the functionalities of WeChat by integrating them into the parent system.

In 2020, the value of transactions made through Miniprograms reached 210 billion Euros, doubling the previous year’s figures, while the increase in transactions per user over the same period was 67%. There are over 400 million monthly active companies worldwide on the WeChat platform through Miniprograms, with communication and marketing activities or involving direct sales to the public.

A very rich, varied universe characterized by a proliferation of initiatives, opportunities and ideas capable of involving brands, users and partners in a virtuous circle.

Channels is a WeChat feature that allows to communicate through sub-one-minute videos, photos, news and short articles capable of reaching millions of users registered to the platform, even if they do not directly follow the profile that publishes the content.

WeChat Channels is an exceptional marketing tool enabling companies to structure branding initiatives across multiple types of media, creating a strategy that allows to convey high-reach content, such as short videos, perfect for influencer marketing campaigns (as evidenced by the stories of Instagram and TikTok) aimed at both the B2C and B2B segments.

Social commerce, communication and KOL promotions

Developing a functional and circular ecosystem on WeChat helps both to talk to your target audience among Chinese users, and explore the commercial potential of the same segment, experimenting new forms of promotion and online sales.

Social commerce is certainly one of the trends which must be taken into account. The pandemic has further accelerated the growth of online purchases in China and WeChat is among the undisputed leaders, with a skyrocketing number of transactions.

In order to carve out a space in this increasingly competitive market it is crucial to develop a communication plan aimed at the local public which considers customs, tones and predilections: think local to be global.

In this process, a key role can be played by Chinese Key Opinion Leaders, influential figures of the social, cultural and digital landscape capable, simply through their image, of launching a product or increasing its sales. The perception of the value of Made in Italy in China also passes through the faces of personalities often unknown to those who do not live in daily contact with this context.

After studying the trends and understanding the opportunities offered by the Chinese market, all that remains to do is to roll up your sleeves and plan the 2021 strategy!


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