3 Apps You Need to Use to Build Your Brand in the Chinese Market

Although you may be familiar with the big names in social media in your own country, you may not be as familiar with the entirely different suite of apps and services used by the billions of Mandarin speakers in China and around the world.

In this post, we dive into three Chinese social media apps which can be leveraged by businesses interested in expanding or establishing a presence in the Chinese market – WeChat, RED, and DouYin. Let’s do it!

1. WeChat: Chinese Facebook… and More main abilities and functions on wechat 2021

Functions obtained by WeChat 

This is the nervous system of Chinese social media. Imagine Facebook, but with more functionality including transferring money, messaging, blogging, shopping… Due to its powerful functionality, it is the largest social media platform in China, with over 1 billion Chinese active monthly users (about half of Facebook’s 2 billion), who spend an average of 70 minutes every day.

Moreover, it is also a handy tool for business promotion. WeChat allows companies and celebrities to create official accounts to build brand awareness and promote sales. Read on for an overview of the options available to your business.

Advertising on WeChat

There are three main types of advertising on WeChat.

1. WeChat Moments Advertising 

This feature allows companies to insert ads when browsing your friends’ “moments”. You could think of it as the pop-up ads from Instagram when browsing the app. In order to create an ad on moments, there is a minimal entry price for the business to pay, which is 50,000RMB (AUD$10985.04 as of 24/02/2022) per campaign. Cost per 1000 impressions varies according to the location of target customers. 

Even though it is an excellent function for well-known businesses, it is not suggested for small and medium brands, companies in service, B2B businesses and others. This is because the WeChat Moment ads are comparatively more expensive than Tencent’s other advertising channels. For example, WeChat Banner ads have a CPC (cost-per-click) of between 2-5RMB and KOL campaign has a CPC of 0.5-1 RMB. For these reasons, WeChat Banner ads could be a better choice for these businesses. 

WeChat Advertising 2021 Guide - SEO China Agency

An example of a WeChat moment ad

2. WeChat banner advertising

This method is similar to pop-up ads when you are browsing a website. These ads are charged at a minimum of 1000 RMB, but how much you pay will depend on the following options.

There are three types of banner ads:

i. Bottom ads: when a WeChat banner linked with an article written by another WeChat official account appears at the bottom of the article;

ii. Ad banner: this banner typically comes with a headline, account name and a logo. It contains additional information about the brand/ product;

iii. Action call: allows the article to take the user to another page

3. WeChat Key Opinion Leader (KOL) advertising

These “ads” become available to social influencers with over 500k followers, who can generate content to promote a brand. They charge 20-40% commission for each sale made by their contribution, such as writing an article about a product.

KOL advertising is recommended as WeChat itself is a social app, and endorsement from trusted sources can be a considerable conversion source. It also enables companies to promote their brand based on their budgets.


A sponsorship ad at the bottom of a KOL’s article on WeChat

2. RED (Xiao Hong Shu): Instagram of China

This app has similar features as Instagram, which allows users to share their experiences, participate in discussions and post their content. Content on the platform is mainly based on reviews on products, experiences about shopping and travelling, and deals and tips. 

In addition to its social aspect, it also has a great value in e-commerce. KOL can directly influence sales by their content, making this platform attractive for brands, especially the more prominent ones, as most of them have gained significant revenue from this advertising method. 


Popular brands posting on Xiao Hong Shu

Moreover, if your target customers are women, especially Gen-Z, here is the app that you must not miss! Xiao Hong Shu has 250 million monthly active users, and 85% of them are identified as female. It suggests contents to each user based on their browsing and searches history by a recommendation algorithm, under the “explore” feature. In this way, businesses/ KOL could sell products to their target customers more precisely.

Red also creates a more efficient way of shopping for its users. As mentioned above, Red allows users to share their experience of a product here and on top of that, they could add a link of the product on the same post. Viewers who found the review interesting and authentic could therefore purchase the product via clicking on the link. How convenient! This feature, therefore, creates a “Read-Like-Buy” cycle within the app.

After all, Red gives great opportunities for brands, especially those in the fashion, beauty and cosmetics industries to attract their target customers and boost their sales eventually.

Products on “Red Store

3. DouYin: the original form of TikTok

You must know the short-video app called “TikTok”, but do you know that it is derived from DouYin? This app focuses on short-clip videos where people can share their edited daily-life videos, content about their professions, challenges such as “The Karma is a B****”, etc. The challenge was about a girl transforming from an average image to a surprising new look.

Once DouYin was published, it went wild on the internet, and almost everyone from Gen-Z became a user of it. 

It has over 518 million active monthly users in China who spend an average of 52 minutes daily. Businesses can use this platform to upload their ad and create content. 

Recently, it has been a widespread phenomenon that businesses profit from selling their products while streaming. They usually stream about their product’s details and recommend their product in an exciting tone to boost sales.

Given the fact that there is a spike in the platform’s popularity, it is expected that DouYin will be one of the most popular platforms for social media marketing in China in the future.

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A social influencer introducing a lipstick on DouYin

As a Chinese person, I, along with millions of other users, log into these apps every day due to their great functionality and social aspects. and the same as most other Chinese people. More importantly, effectively leveraging these apps they have the ability to will allow you to grow your business exponentially, if you use them efficiently.

For more useful apps to use in China take a look at our essential apps for living in China

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