This week in the news, it is becoming more important than ever for businesses to understand the Chinese social media landscape, China is set to become the world’s second-largest cruise market by 2017, Sotheby’s has released its study on affluent Chinese home buyers, anonymous social networking apps are gaining popularity and attracting controversy in China, and Chinese investors are using the cryptocurrency bitcoin to buy property in Europe.
A recent study conducted by Milward Brown and ChinaMedia360.com found that 75 percent of all companies have launched social media advertising campaigns, and 71 percent of advertisers consider social marketing to be “very important.” Of the numerous social media platforms now available in China, WeChat and Weibo are currently the largest, with the largest user base and most frequent use. Companies must be aware of the differences between the two when marketing. Connections on WeChat are closer with few opportunities for sharing, whereas Weibo combines personal networks and networks of people with similar interests that may not be real-life acquaintances, so the interaction between brands and users is much more open.
Chinese cruise travelers are projected to reach 4.5 million by 2020, tripling the 2013 number, according to China’s Ministry of Transport. Carnival Corporation, the industry’s largest player with 10 brands and more than 100 ships, hopes to capture a leadership in the China market. The company has deployed the Costa Serena to China, making it the fourth ship to call Shanghai its home port. The number of cruise voyages departing from Chinese ports increased from 25 to 170 with some 1.4 million trips on cruise ships taken last year. China is expected to be the world’s second-largest cruise market (after the US) by 2017, with growth rates far higher than in North America and Europe.
When it comes to real estate, wealthy Chinese are an important clientele worldwide. A new report from Sotheby’s International Realty offers some revealing insights on the wealthy Chinese home buyer. Ninety-six percent of wealthy Chinese home buyers have purchased a property within the last three years. The top home feature for which Chinese buyers are willing to pay more is location. When asked which region of the world in which they plan to purchase their next property, 37% said Asia. Nearly half would be most proud to own an eco-friendly home. When asked what they would consider purchasing next, the top choice was waterfront property. The top desired luxury amenity was space to display an art collection.
There are now more than 20 anonymous social network apps in China, with eight new ones launched in June alone. Proponents note that the apps fulfill people’s need to gossip. Anonymous posting allows users to vent and share private concerns without worrying about the repercussions of sharing sensitive information. Since the new apps do not require users to register before posting, they also generate a considerable amount of content. If their popularity continues to grow, anonymous apps would stimulate commercialization through advertising, games and entertainment, and value-added and payment services. Others are less optimistic, noting that such apps can also generate verbal abuse and, despite their anonymity, can become platforms for personal attacks.
Bitcoin is a digital peer-to-peer payment method with no single administrator and no central repository. Since bitcoins aren’t officially considered currency, they are not restricted by the government’s foreign exchange policy. Proponents believe this could make China, a country with strict capital controls, a large market for the bitcoin. Many others are less enthusiastic, viewing the bitcoin phenomenon as “a bubble about to burst” from further regulations and a general lack of confidence in the currency. Nevertheless, international brokers are already lining up for what they see as a potentially lucrative market. London-based Cai-Capital, for instance, allows clients from Hong Kong to purchase multi-million-dollar homes and flats in London with bitcoins.
Image source: btinvest