Seeniun Media is not known for a long time, but almost every Chinese expat in Dubai must have known or used its hero community brand, Dubairen, to get restaurant inspirations, find the best school for kids or read Dubai property trends.
Back in 2009, there were few local Chinese online forums where people gathered and discussed topics. Home is too far, while mainstream expat forums had cultural and language barrier. It was hard to find the useful information in Chinese. Compared to the mature Chinese communities in Europe, Dubai only witnesses the Chinese migration booms in the past ten to fifteen years. Chinese expats demographic experiences several phases: small business owners in import-export business came first, then big state-owned-companies relocated their infrastructure construction projects and staff here, recently more and more young generation embracing international environment landed in Dubai.
The need for an online platform which provided structured and rich information, and connected people to a wider world has been never that urgent. For example, eating is the top priority for many Chinese, however, Dubai’s mainstream review platform Zomato doesn’t include most of the authentic Chinese restaurants. It is partly due to the language barrier and limited marketing capacity in the China Cluster in International City, and partly due to the unfamiliarity of authentic Chinese cuisines in the western and Arab world. The existing Chinese online forum couldn't meet the need either. The post would have a chaotic commenting list with some irrational messages and some irrelevant information. People have to rely on their own experience or reference of friends, but what if you are new to Dubai?
There was a gap, where the opportunity lies. Although English is becoming a working language for many Chinese expats who work in an international environment, Chinese still incline to check daily news and trends, browse search engine results and enjoy the entertainment in their mother tongue.
Seeniun Media saw the opportunity and grabbed it: A new community online platform, called Dubairen, was established. The literal translation of Dubairen is Dubai People.
Dubairen editor, Momo Sam, started with posting some practical tips as a hobby, from how to change job to how to protect own legal rights. His initial aim was to share his experience with the mass, so that others can avoid the mistakes he had made. To his surprise, it was received very well and the readers started submitting more questions about living in Dubai. He, with the growing reputation of Dubairen, became a celebrity among 200,000 Chinese in Dubai. If you have a question about living in Dubai, you can either find the clear answer on Dubairen or throw the question to Momo Sam. He will dig it into the topic and make the answer happen.
With the help of people with different speciality and skills, Dubairen gradually grows into an interesting combination of Expatwoman.com, Time Out Dubai, Zomato, and Gulf News. Great content does the marketing itself. You can easily find the high-quality content of the restaurant reviews, special offers in Dubai, selected regional news, insurance comparison etc. The monthly traffic peaked 600,000. Lots of local services targeting Chinese came to Dubairen as a result.
Meanwhile, the digital revolution changed the community gathering from the online forum to social media engagement in the past few years. Dubairen was active on Weibo and Douban before Wechat swamped the social media and fundamentally changed people's communications. Dubairen's Wechat account and the community gathered 50,000 followers in 24 months. It becomes the most visited Dubai account.
Unlike other brands, going from offline to online, Dubairen chose the opposite. In 2014, Dubairen added print magazine into its integrated marketing landscape--its bimonthly magazine. The 8,000 distributions go to Chinese Consulate, mega Chinese companies, DragonMart, restaurants and shops in the International City. It has been proven a big success that people haven't abandoned the traditional way that quickly and still love the feel and touch of a physical magazine for the voucher and yellow-page information. With benefits of the strong connection with most of the Asian restaurants in Dubai, Dubairen published its own “Entertainer”, a voucher book featuring Asian restaurants and local services.
Dubairen's success helped Seeniun Media grow its influence and business. In 2016, Seeniun Media planned and organized photography exhibition for Nakheel, managed and grew Burj Al Arab Wechat account, helped EDI achieved 300% sales growth. Seeniun Media has long been more than a mother group of Dubairen website but become the most known Chinese agency in Dubai, in event management, Chinese PR, Chinese social media management and integrated campaign planning and execution.
If you want to reach out to the Chinese audience or Chinese in Dubai, Seeniun Media could be your best partner.
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