120.7 billion RMB ($18.1 billion) revenue in one day.
This amount of sales revenue is generated in one day. Is it possible? It did happen on 11th Nov 2016. The daily sales revenue of Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba’s flagship C2C and B2C online shopping platforms, hit 120.7 million RMB.
Alibaba and its Empire
Alibaba is debatably the biggest retailer in the world. Its quarterly profit exceeds the annual profit of Amazon. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and chairman, is the most well-recognized and influential Chinese entrepreneur in the western world. 440 million people are active on Alibaba’s platforms. What’s the magic behind?
Alibaba has been touting the power of the data thrown off by the consumers shopping, engaging with brands and consuming content on Taobao Marketplace and Tmall. The growth and evolution of Tmall mirrors the unique online ecosystem with the support of big data and integrated marketing.
Let’s go back to the beginning. To distinguish with C2C platform Taobao and better serve brand client, Alibaba established Tmall, to host established brands. Tmall had reputation as an “online low-end-brand market” at the beginning. It has been through a long way to become a strategic retail channel to target younger audience.
Tmall: from a cheap market-place to a brand collaborator
It publishes the purchase trends and brand impact rankings. In 2013, Tmall announced the plan to upgrade the branding services for flagship stores. It signalled that Tmall changed from a display marketplace, to a marketer. It aimed to increase brand engagement, improve CRM system, utilize user behaviour statistics, and raise the brand awareness. It means Tmall actively participates in the brand campaign, provides data-oriented insights, designs and executes the campaign.
Traditionally, luxury brands tend to stay away from online shopping, to maintain the brand proposition. However, luxury industry faces the growth bottleneck majority of them have realized that online shopping can cut advertisement cost and reach out to broader audience more effectively. They change the strategy, embrace Tmall and customize campaign accordingly. The trend starts from cosmetic brands. For example, when launching its online store, Guerlain did a live broadcasting on Tmall, and gained 50,000 new members and 4 million engagement within one hour. Then come fashion and jewellery brands. In Feb 2017, TAG Heuer joined Tmall and opened its first online platform.
Big Data & Uni Marketing
Alibaba is good at analysing big data and understanding its user behaviour. It has launcheda new concept – Uni Marketing. “By combining its massive data assets, businesses can identify, segment and build tailored content for the best results.” said Alibaba Chief Marketing Officer in a statement.
It reveals Alibaba’s ambition of aggressively increasing conversion rate and becoming a big winner in the marketing and advertising, the same philosophy as Google search algorithm. Alfa Romeo collaborating with Tmall, to first launch its brand in China is a great example. Alibaba analysed the existing search stats related to Alfa Romeo and luxurious cars to find the target audience, then customized the campaign and message. APASS, Alibaba Passport, is the loyalty program, the member of which spends in average 300,000RMBD on the platforms. APASS members are crucial to the luxury brand marketing. The precise targeting proved to be successful. In the first 30 minutes of launch, over 300 Alfa Romeo cars are sold out.
Alibaba has other products that are less known but contribute lots to the brand, such as Alipay (a great war with Wechat Pay, Alicloud, and Gaode Map (the main competitor of Baidu Map). Stay tune with Seeniun Media for more China insights.
BAT: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are the most important internet giants that penetrate people’s daily life. They represent the majority online eco-system in China, which covers search engine, e-commerce and social network. Learning BAT is the first step to understand the online marketing in China. Today, Seeniun Media gives you a sneak peek on Baidu – The search engine that takes over Google.
Baidu Search Engine
When opening Baidu Search Engine, you can see the almost interface looks almost the same as Google: a dominant search bar in the middle, then news, image, video, map and scholar on the top right corner. Google inspired Baidu, and then Baidu quickly surpassed Google after the Great Fire Wall had been imposed on Google in 2002.
The biggest revenue of Google and Baidu are the same: ads on the search result page. Nevertheless, the biggest difference between these two giants is deeply rooted in the foundation. Baidu focuses on the commercial side, i.e. the higher the bid the better the rank, and little visual distinction between paid ads and organic search result. Google aims at a better user experience; therefore, content quality is as important as the bidding price.
Baidu Adwords, to large extent, was the copy of Google Penguin algorism: Bid on the keywords and its long tail keywords, optimize the on-page and off-page structure to become more crawlable.
The biggest difference between Baidu Ads and Google Ads lies in Google has been improved over the years to provide as unbiased search result as possible. Google Quality Score is designed for a balance between content quality and bidding price. However, Baidu had been labeled with some bad reputations over the years by pushing misleading but highly profitable health care services ads.
The special Baidu algorism also enables the brand reputation management. It is possible to optimize the positive or neutral content and push the negative content down the rank over six to twelve months.
Contact us to learn more about Baidu Ads, Online Brand Reputation, SEO and SEM services.
Other than the search engine and Baidu Adwords, Baidu has developed a wide range of products to support and built the 360 online experiences. The key products include Baidu Map, one of the top navigation maps in China, Baidu Zhidao, an online Q&A platform that is close to Quora, Baidu Tieba, the online community where people gather for the same interest, Baidu Baike, the Chinese version of Wikipedia, Baidu Cloud, the file hosting service similar to Google Drive or Dropbox.
We also see Baidu’s struggles in e-commerce. Many functions were developed to compete with big players but soon died down in spite of the traffic volume. When AI becomes the next hottest topic, can Baidu break its bottleneck?
You might be surprised that there are around 300,000 Chinese expats living in UAE. Over two third of them live in Dubai. Unlike British, Indian or Pilipino community, Chinese community is quite invisible and domestic-oriented. You might wonder: Where are they, and what do they do and how is the community like?
SME @DragonMart & Murshid Bazar
The first group of Chinese expats came to Dubai in early 90s. Some of them were sent by the government-owned trading companies, while the others saw the import-export opportunities from two ports in Dubai. Before DragonMart was built, most of the small traders opened their shop in Murshid Bazar and the bazaar in Sharjah. From electronic accessories, furniture to shoes and Chinese supermarket, all sorts of "made-in-China" products could have been found here.
DragonMart was opened in 2004 and it became the symbol of Chinese (cheap) products in Dubai ever since. Many business owners moved their shop here. Some smart people quickly grabbed the opportunities, expend the business and started exploring other industries to invest. Nowadays, you won't see many Chinese sitting in the shops in the DragonMart, however, these Chinese business owners hire other expats to deal with Arab customers.
The majority of the Chinese middle class in Dubai work for Chinese enterprises traditionally in bank, telecom, construction, logistics and manufacture industries. They prefer staying in the Chinese community but raising kids in a western environment.
Recent years, more and more e-commerce startups and teams come to Dubai. They localise the experience and products that are proven successful in China, and quickly fill the gap. Dubai provides a great location and security for the team to stay and open the whole MENA market.
Hospitality & Mall & Dubai Duty Free
According to Dubai Tourism's stats, total of 157,000 Chinese visitors came to Dubai in just the first two months of 2017. Due to the language barrier and cultural difference, retail and hospitality giants, since a few years back, have recruited a great number of Chinese staff to better serve Chinese tourists. Five star hotels, Emirates airline, Dubai Duty Free and the Dubai Mall
Since 2012, the dynamics of Chinese expats witnesses a big change. More and more young professionals come to Dubai, many of whom have international education background or work in the non-Chinese companies. Unlike the older generation staying in the Chinese community, the young professionals are more outgoing and confident on the networking events, mingle more with non-Chinese friends and colleagues, and shift towards a better lifestyle and work-life-balance.
The Chinese expats community in Dubai is very diversified, but people more or less stay on the same community network to exchange information and make new friends.
DUBAIREN, literal translation into Mandarin as Dubai People, is the most popular and recognised Chinese online community in Dubai. Its 360 degree platforms including website, social media (wechat) and bi-monthly magazine dive deep into Chinese expats life here. It pushes daily news from China and UAE, features individuals with interesting stories, writes reviews of restaurants (mainly Chinese restaurants) and service facilities, and host corporate events targeting local Chinese community.
If you want to introduce your business to UAE Chinese community, click here to stay in touch with Dubairen.
Image how your life would be with no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and Google products? 1.3 billion Chinese have no choice but develop its own social media network and tools. You can find almost all the equivalent websites or platforms in China -- Weibo is Chinese Twitter, Youku/Tudou is the localized Youtube, Baidu dominates the search engine market. However, the social media giant is no doubt Wechat.
What's Wechat? It is a combination of Whatsapp, Skype, Instagram, Paypal, Uber and RSS. It has 889million active users and 10 million corporate accounts to push content and provide services.
If you download it for the first time, wechat is just another version of Whatsapp, which is commonly used in Asia predominately in China. You might drop Wechat after playing with it for an hour, and find no joy on exploring all the mysterious but hidden functions it has. But I can be your first wechat friend (xiniwei911) to chat about everything you wanna know about China.
After the personal level, you may start exploring official account by following DUBAIREN on Wechat (press “Plus” button on the right hand corner, then “add contacts”, choose “official accounts” and type “dubairen2009”, and ADD). Entering the official account, you will find it a mini-website/blog. You will receive daily articles in the “subscription” .
However, Wechat’s magic is far more than chatting and information consumption platform.
Magic QR Code
Wechat’s basic function of adding contacts is through QR Code. QR Code might be one of the most important tools to connect online and offline user experience, and an alternative way of exchanging business card in China.
Scan personal or corporate QR code and save as contacts. Scan the brand QR code to redeem the discount, visit the content, follow the official account or play the interactive game. Scan the QR code on the restaurant table for the electronic menu and pay the bill.
Red Pocket and Wechat Pay
Giving away red pocket has been an old tradition in China, when people celebrate the Spring Festival, big birthday, marriage and newborn baby. With Wechat-red-pocket function, those who are not physically there to give family and friends find a perfect solution.
More interestingly, the Wechat red-pocket introduces a mechanism for the group. You set a amount of red pocket and number of people to share it. The system will automatically split the money into random amounts. Those who “grab and open” the red pocket first will see his luck, i.e. you might get the least money among your friends even if you open the red-pocket first. But if you are too late, you might end up finding an empty red-pocket. (If you can’t manipulate the luck, train yourself to become fast-hand!)
Behind red-pocket is Wechat Pay. As another old tradition, Chinese like to keep and carry cash. Not even the introduction of credit card changes this mentality. However, Wechat pay successfully replaces the changes and small bills in the restaurants and food court. People no longer need to carry coins to visit food court, or ask waiter to split the bill. Everything can be done on Wechat with a QR-coding and 5s scanning.
How to use Wechat Pay is very likely your following question. One simple step: link your E-wallet to a Chinese debit or credit card...!
E-commerce and Monetization
There are a dozen of ways to make money on Wechat:
If the official account has a great quality follower base (over 5,000), it can sell the banner position for programmatic buy, similar as website banner ads. But it only gets paid if people click on the banner.
If the personal official account has a close community, he/she can encourage the readers to pay “awards” for the efforts.
Selling stuff on Wechat is another approach. Inspired by Alibaba, Wechat enables small business owners to set up a “mini-shop” and sell their products there. The product description, customer service and links to review or other products won’t be much less overwhelming than Taobao, however, it is a great channel to sell clothes, toys, travel products.
New York Times made a brilliant video last year on Wechat: How Wechat is in every piece of your life.
Enjoy it yourself, and we will talk about how to use Wechat as a brand soon, and Chinese social influencers' management.