Using Weibo and WeChat for news feed in China’s business environment 01-23-2018

In a time of constant change, fierce competition and information overload, every company is in need to check the relevant news about their industry and markets on a regular basis, in order to keep up with the trends and make the right decisions. The traditional sources in Western countries for this kind of news are mostly news websites and industry-specific magazines, in combination with social media channels and newsletters. 



However, while this might work well in Western countries, looking at China, media regulations, an opaque market situation, and language barriers are adding quite a few obstacles for international companies to stay updated. In addition to that, social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo are changing how journalism works in the country, dragging power away from national news agencies to trusted opinion leaders with many followers. These independent influencers, called Key Opinion Leaders, are attracting both attention and money in China’s business environment.




 


Popular social media and messaging apps of the Western world are blocked in China. Facebook and Twitter are famous examples of blocked social media channels, as WhatsApp represents a restricted messenger. All have fallen foul of China’s myriad of extreme regulations on censorship and data collection. 



However, that doesn’t mean that Chinese companies are not building an audience online and posting regular updates on their business and innovations. Just like Western companies are commonly represented on the online channels, their Chinese counterparts are equally active on the Chinese social media platforms. 



For any international players that are investing and doing business in China, getting access to the press releases and social media posts of Chinese companies can be a game changer to learn about their strategy, business development, and investment scopes. In a time, where data and timely information can be the difference between leading and following a business trend, having the right sources for news is crucial. 



After all, social media is interlaced into nearly every aspect of life for people around the world. In China, WeChat and Weibo social media have become the backbone of everything for Chinese digital natives. International players in the Chinese market should know about these leading news sources for updates on the Chinese market and how they work in general. 



WeChat






WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose social media mobile app developed by tech giant Tencent. Starting in 2011, the app has grown to be one of the largest standalone mobile apps in 2017 with over 980 million monthly active users, most of them from Mainland China. 



According to data from the company, about 41% of the total population of China logging into WeChat every day, using the various functions for daily tasks. As a result, WeChat is taking over China in both social and commercial aspects. It has grown into the largest and the most influential social network in China. 



The app supports companies and organizations that wish to register as an official account, which enables them to push feeds to and interact with subscribers. Using WeChat’s official account, companies can choose between three types of official accounts, namely a service account, a subscription account and an enterprise account. 



By the end of 2014, the number of WeChat official accounts had reached 8 million. Official accounts of organizations can apply to be verified. WeChat has been used by Chinese companies as part of a social media digital marketing strategy, to share information and boost their brands.



According to the latest data, one-fifth of all Chinese companies have a WeChat account. That is 5.8 million accounts, a number that even keeps growing every day. 



The most important function for enterprises to promote their content and press releases on WeChat is the section called “Moments”. This is WeChat's brand name for its social feed of friends and subscribers’ updates. The content that can be posted in the Moments section contains images, post text, post comments, share music, share articles and post "likes."








 


WeChat also offers the possibility to post promoted advertisements in the news feed. These are advertisements that are displayed in user's Moments. A WeChat Moments advertisement includes brand name, profile, short description, a maximum of six pictures or a six to 15 seconds short video, as well as a link to a webpage hosted on Tencent's server. Moments ads are like regular Moments post but with a sponsored tag. Users can interact with the ads: they can like and comment on the post. 



Like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, brands can place sponsored content in Moments’ timeline. Tencent didn’t open Moments to advertisers until January of 2015 when it unveiled Sponsored Moments. WeChat selected around 50 brand advertisers for the initial trial, including Coca-Cola and BMW. 



Compared with Facebook and other social media, WeChat allowed businesses to open an account and gain a following on the platform for free. Businesses could send messages to the followers and get frequently links with them. 



Weibo





Weibo is the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, surpassing it by numbers of users in 2017. Weibo is a microblogging website, used by about one-third of China’s total internet users on a regular basis. According to the company’s data, around 100 million messages are posted each day on the website. 



More than 5,000 Chinese companies and 2,700 media organizations in China are actively using Sina Weibo and the number is growing. 



Facing no real international competition in blogging services, Sina Weibo implements many features from Twitter. Users of Weibo used to have a 140-character limit, they mention or talk to other people using @, add hashtags with "#subject#", as well as follow other users to make their posts appear in one's own timeline. In the beginning of 2016, Sina Weibo decided to remove the 140-character limit for any original posts, reacting on the demand from users to see more quality content and deeper information in the posts. 

 

But Sina Weibo is more than just a blogging website. It can be better described as a combination of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The users of Weibo interact much more with each other than the users of Twitter do. Many topics that go viral on Weibo also started from the platform itself, while Twitter topics often come from the news or events that take place on Twitter.






 


Nowadays, Weibo has developed steadily to become a significant part of Chinese enterprises to stay engaged with their followers and post regular press releases and promotions. Similar to most social media channels, enterprises also can choose in Weibo to create an official company account over an ordinary account, opening more opportunities to track their campaigns. Social-media-related corporations and entrepreneurs use Weibo to reach out to their audience and clients.


The main activities for companies on Weibo include explore business opportunities and build meaningful contacts on Weibo, introduce their products and services to Chinese consumers, easily collect customer feedback and respond to their questions, and create experiences that enhance brand awareness and brand affinity. 



The easy solution for automatic updates



Most Chinese rely on WeChat and Weibo for their daily news, since they trust these sources more than the highly regulated and manipulated governmental news agencies. Hence, Chinese companies are aware of the preferences and post their updates preferably on these platforms as well, leading to a large number of company updates. 

 

Foreign enterprises, that have access to the regular updates of their Chinese partner or competitors, suppliers or buyers, can use the information to stay informed about the trend in China immediately from the source without having to wait for some public news if the topic is covered at all.

 

CCM has developed a new tool to get all relevant news and updates from Chinese enterprises and key opinion leaders on social media right to the email address. Users can simply set the relevant keywords and enterprises they want to follow in the Crawling System of CCM. The system will crawl all relevant posts on WeChat and Weibo, either from the selected enterprises or by the selected keyword. The posts will be filtered for relevance automatically and send to the email address of the user directly. An integrated translation service can be used to translate the Chinese news into English. 



Learn more about the Crawling Center of CCM and apply for a free trial by visiting our online platform or contact us directly at econtact@cnchemicals.com and call 86-20-37616606.








CCM is China’s leading market and business intelligence provider for the fields of agriculture, chemicals, food and feed.



Subscribe to our Newsletter

 


Next Press