MARCH 19, 2019
In many ways, Chinese mobile Internet industry is a sort of parallel universe from the rest of the world, developed behind “the Great Firewall” and tailored for Chinese consumers. Born in a fast growing economy and under the governments safe haven, the Chinese apps are much luckier than their counterparts in most other countries since they don’t have the fierce competition from Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Uber, Amazon, Netflix etc, where they dominate everywhere from Tokyo to San Fransisco, except China. Once regarded as copycats by the giants in the Silicon Valley, these Chinese apps are now raising to super apps, leading the innovation and seen as the glimpse of the Future soon to come.
Below are the most popular Chinese apps where you can have a peek for real traffic, which means you can both acquire users and monetize your traffic.Wechat
Wechat is definitely the number one app in China. If there is an app every Chinese use and feel uncomfortable if they don’t check it for a few hours, or even minutes, then it should be wechat. It has 1.08 billion, yes billion, users. And it is an amazing app that you can do quite a lot of things: message or call people, hail a cab, book a hotel/flight/train, top up your phone bill, send/receive money, pay at supermarkets/restaurants/street vendors, practice charity by donating or doing sports, unlock sharing bikes, sharing personal pages, scan QR code, find people nearby, play games, use mini program, receive/use coupons, collect stickers, take a loan, order delivery food, shop in groups, etc. It’s an app for good.
With various functions, Wechat can precisely know your location, your wealth, the kind of restaurant you like and when do you eat, the games you like to play etc. So it is one of world’s most comprehensive and intelligent data gathering app - and of course, it’s a dream of marketers. With its comprehensive data, you can advertise with target in gender, age, income level, geography, educational level, food/game preference etc. And, if you want to sell your products either in an app or in a website in China, you need to integrate Wechat payment!Alipay
Alipay is the payment tool developed by Alibaba, and was originally used as a third party payment on Taobao, the biggest Chinese e-commerce platform. But now Alipay is more than a payment tool. It integrates with tons of daily life services, and of course, Taobao. So almost anything you can think of, you can probably find them on Alipay: all payment related services you can find on wechat, plus city services, like you can pay water/electricity bill, public transportation, rent wifi, buy lottery, get insurance, get exchange, recommendation for the restaurant/shops and places of interest nearby and their tickets etc. And it has around 1 billion monthly active users. Yes, billion! And as you can see, targeted advertisement is not a question.Wi-Fi Master Key
Wifi master key is not as famous as WeChat or Alipay, however, it has an astonishing 900 million monthly active users, 800 million of them in China and 100 million abroad and is definitely one of most widely downloaded apps in China. It is an app enables you connect to and get free wifi near you. Its users are usually the ones rely on wifi or traffic data heavily. Well of course, legality and security is another story.QQ
QQ is Wechat’s elder sister, also developed by Tencent, with 861 million users. Lots of office workers and students like to use them because it has an email attached with every QQ and can transfer files easily. QQ also have a private/public personal space where you can store your pictures, moments and articles. Even though WeChat is more attractive for lots of people, but there is still a huge number of QQ users.Baidu
Baidu is Chinese google, while Google is blocked in China. It takes 78% of the search engine market has around 665 million mobile users. Baidu map is also the most popular map in China, closely followed by Amap, with 293 million users. Combined with other Baidu apps, Baidu has one of the biggest ad platform in China, which we discussed in former articles.Tencent Video
Tencent video is the biggest Chinese TV/movie stream platform, closely followed by iQIY, with 500 million monthly active users and 76 million subscription users. It also belongs to Tencent family. Online video advertising and paid subscribers are main income source for Tencent video. In the trend of video advertising, Tencent video is not a bad choice.Taobao
China’s biggest e-commerce platform, and one of the earliest as well. It alone has 490 million monthly active users and its siblings Tmall, Hema etc has another 100 million. Everybody can sign up as a Taobao buyer or seller. And on Taobao, not only can you buy clothes, food, appliances etc, but also buy second hand stuffs, services like visa application, printing and delivery etc. There are commodities and services on Taobao that you don’t even think of. Chinese like shopping, especially shopping on line, and Taobao is the most popular one.Didi
After taking Uber China over in August 2016, Didi became the absolute number one cab hailing provider in China, with 450 million monthly active users. Even though Didi is often accused of monopoly and being irresponsible for the security of customers, it is still the most widely used cab hailing app.TikTok
TikTok is called “Douyin” in China, with around 300 million monthly active users. TikTok acquired musical.ly in November 2017 and now they are all in one. TikTok is an app on which users can create and share short video and it grows crazily in 2018. It also acquires some other short video apps in China like watermelon video, volcano video etc. So, if you are looking for video traffic, you might end up here.Pinduoduo
Pinduoduo is the fastest growing e-commerce app in China, with 300 million users in 3 years! It went public in America in July 2018, less than 3 years after it was set up and is regarded as an e-commerce legend. Pinduoduo features group shopping at the best price and its users are mostly from third/fourth tier cities and villages. Pinduoduo generated 471.6 billion yuan (US$268.6 billion) in GMV in the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2018, an increase of 234% year-on-year. This was driven by the rapid growth in the annual active buyer base and a near doubling in the annual spending per active buyer. According to a report by UBS, Pinduoduo’s user retention rate is higher than any other e-commerce platforms in China.UC browser
UC browser is another popular app in China, with 210 million monthly active users. UC browser is relatively light, battery-saving and most importantly, fast. That’s why even though Baidu is the most popular one, and automatically integrated with original searching engine on the phones, UC browser is still very popular. UC is also performing well in Southeast Asia.Others
The list goes on, and there are still tens of apps that have more than 100 million users. For example, Meituan, a daily life service Groupon app that users can book trips, tickets, food etc, Ctrip(known as trip.com outside of China), a travel app. JD.com, another huge e-commerce app, today’s headline, a news app, momo, a dating app, Kugou, a music app, to name but a few.
Advertising is the most common way in China to monetize your traffic. You can choose the different source per the content, form, target of your creatives. And remember, in-feed Advertising can be more important than performance marketing.