While SHEIN has its origins in China it is one of the biggest shopping apps in the United States, SHAREit has been banned in India despite being massively popular elsewhere, and Likee is chasing TikTok — but desperate to avoid a similar fate.
China’s app makers are having to be agile in a world where key markets have turned hostile to their country’s tech.
They are either going under the radar in territories where the war over privacy, security and geopolitics rages — or are moving to friendlier markets to win millions of downloads.
Experts say that could signal an unstoppable rise for China’s smart and responsive tech, depending on the long-term damage that security and diplomatic squabbles may bring to the Made in China brand.
For now, the strategies of Chinese-owned platforms — quick reflexes to their customer base and aggressive social media marketing — are winning fans in unexpected places.
Fast-fashion online retailer SHEIN has deployed a legion of influencers and celebrities in the US, including singers Rita Ora and Katy Perry, to soar up the app store rankings.
The platform also advertised a Perry-curated range of affordable tees, dresses and accessories to coincide with her album launch this year.
The company now boasts one of the top five free shopping apps on Apple’s app store in the US, Australia and France, according to US-based research agency Sensor Tower.
“Many of their global users will actually be unaware that they are dealing with a Chinese company,” Hong Kong-based retail analyst Philip Wiggenraad said of such apps.
In a February post on WeChat to recruit suppliers, SHEIN said it had operations spanning more than 200 countries, with 2019 sales exceeding 20 billion yuan ($2.96 billion).
– Catch me if you can –
Even TikTok, battered by an ownership dispute
Live-streaming e-commerce is the fastest-growing area of China’s internet, but buyer’s remorse is common
Live-streaming to sell products is the fastest-growing internet application in China this year, with 309 million users in June – about a third of the country’s internet population – but nearly half of the shoppers who buy through these channels are unhappy with their purchases, according to a new report.
The report by government-affiliated China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) was based on several sources, including interviews with more than 3,000 users who had watched video content online in the last half a year, surveys of industry experts and other research.
Around 15.7 per cent of users surveyed said they were convinced solely by live-streaming shows or online videos to buy goods and over half of these have spent more than 500 yuan (US$74) on their purchases, according to the report released on Monday.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
Impulse buying among live stream viewers was the highest in the daily necessity and food and beverage categories, the report said, adding that only 51.5 per cent of those that had bought products through online live streams were satisfied with the goods they received.
Live-streamed shopping campaigns have been credited with helping China’s retail sector recover in the past few months as the domestic economy gradually reopens in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. There were over 10 million e-commerce live-streaming sessions in China attracting more than 50 billion views in just the first half of the year, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
E-commerce, live-streaming are bright spots in China’s retail scene
But the growing popularity of such campaigns has also
(Bloomberg) — In a quiet experiment of just two weeks, China provided millions of people access to long-forbidden foreign websites like YouTube and Instagram. The trial appears to signal the Communist government is moving toward giving the country’s citizens greater access to the global internet — while still attempting to control who sees what.
The Tuber browser-app, backed by government-linked 360 Security Technology Inc., appeared without fanfare late September and offered for the first time in years a way to view long-banned websites from Facebook Inc. to Google and the New York Times, albeit sanitized versions. Chinese users rejoiced in a newfound ability to directly peruse long-blocked content from a mobile browser without an illegal virtual private network or VPN.
The browser, carried on app stores run by Huawei Technologies Co. among others, suggests Beijing is testing ways to let its 904 million internet users into once-prohibited zones. While Tuber bore the hallmarks of state-style censorship and got pulled without explanation Saturday, it’s Beijing’s most significant experiment in years with greater internet freedoms.
State-sanctioned apps like Tuber offer a possible compromise — a controlled environment in which activity can be tracked and content screened, while allowing academics, corporations and citizens to exchange information. It addresses a complaint among corporations local and foreign that need to access everything from financial data to critical software tools from abroad.
“This latest development with Tuber is interesting because it could be seen as more openness,” said Fergus Ryan, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “But the way that it would actually work would mean that people who use it would be
Shenzhen, known for its maker community and manufacturing resources, is taking the lead in trialing China’s digital yuan.
Last week, the city issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected residents who applied. The government doled out the money through mobile “red envelopes,” a tool designed to digitize the custom of gifting money in red packets and first popularized by WeChat’s e-wallet.
“Red packets are a common way we’ve seen in China Internet companies to spur adoption like what we’ve seen with Tencent WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay in the early days, when these products were first launched,” Flex Yang, CEO of crypto finance firm Babel Finance, told TechCrunch.
The digital yuan is not to be mistaken as a form of cryptocurrency. Rather, it is issued and managed by the central bank, serving as the statutory, digital version of China’s physical currency and giving Beijing a better grasp of its currency circulation. It’s meant to supplement, not replace, third-party payments apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay in a country where cash is dying out.
For example, the central government may in the future issue subsidies to local offices by sending digital yuan, which can help tackle issues like corruption.
Shenzhen is one of the four Chinese cities to begin internal testing of the digital yuan, announced a government notice in August without going into the specifics. The latest distribution to consumers is seen as the country’s first large-scale, public test of the centrally issued virtual currency.
Nearly 2 million individuals in Shenzhen signed up for the lottery, according to a post from the local government. Winners could redeem the 200 yuan red envelope within the official digital yuan app and spend the virtual money at over 3,000 retail outlets in the city.
There were previous indications of
People visit the stand of Tencent’s mobile game ‘Glory of Kings’ during the 2020 China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference (ChinaJoy) at Shanghai New International Expo Center on July 31, 2020 in Shanghai, China.
Zhou You | VCG via Getty Images
SINGAPORE — Video games are booming in China’s smaller cities, with citizens there accounting for more than half of revenue nationally, according to a recent report by Niko Partners.
“76% of gamers in China live in Tier 3-5 cities, accounting for 70% of game revenue,” Niko Partners said in a synopsis of its China Gamers Report.
Cities in China are classified by tiers based loosely on population and economic size. For example, places such as capital Beijing and Shenzhen are generally considered tier-one cities, while lower-tier cities are smaller.
The country is the world’s top game market and will generate an estimated $40.85 billion in revenue this year, according to Newzoo.
“What we think is happening with the smaller tiers is … there are more and more gamers adapting to uses of mobile devices,” Lisa Cosmas Hanson, founder and president of Niko Partners, told CNBC in a follow-up interview.
With “fewer things to do for entertainment” in smaller cities as compared with their cosmopolitan peers in Beijing and Shanghai, “gamers spend their time with little cost entertainment which can be social.”
This could also be attributable to improved mobile data and broadband infrastructure, Hanson added, with “lots of Android smartphones available at lower price points.”
In a country of 1.4 billion people, even China’s smallest “cities” can have a population of more than 1 million each.
For video game publishers looking at China, the analyst said: “If you really want to draw the attention of people throughout the country, Tier 4, Tier 5, these places can’t be ignored.”