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WeChat marketing: how to engage over 1.4 billion consumers in China?

WeChat marketing- How to engage 1.4 billion Chinese audiences?

No matter if you’re running a bricks-and-mortar or an e-commerce business, setting up an effective WeChat business account is the fastest way to ensure a successful entrance into the enormous Chinese market. Being the largest social network in China, WeChat has over 1 billion monthly active users alone, with user bases spanning across the global Chinese diaspora. This enormous scale means that having an outstanding WeChat account is essential to business success.

Right now, Chinese consumers spend a good portion of their time on WeChat, averaging 82 minutes every day, with millions of branded content published in any minute. This means the marketing landscape is hugely competitive for brands hoping to get a slice of this pie. So knowing the rules of this WeChat game is key to success and relevance.

Some WeChat facts

  • WeChat is free to use worldwide

  • WeChat users send almost 205 million video messages EVERY DAY.  

  • WeChat has got nearly 410 million audio and video calls per day.

(According to Review 42)

What is WeChat?

WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging and social media app developed by Tencent. It supports a wide range of functions, from instant messaging, social media, multimedia sharing to even corporate communications and mobile payment. It’s described as China’s “app for everything” and is hugely popular among the worldwide Chinese diaspora on top of its 1 billion monthly active users already present in China.

Wechat Icon

Since its launch in 2011, WeChat has been the trailblazer of China’s new internet age. Users can buy goods and services, visit different pages, access news updates, and even hail a taxi or go on online dating matches all in one app. Its in-built customer service and mobile payment services allow users to access the entire consumer journey from start to finish without moving between platforms.

In short, WeChat is the indispensable social media app for the Chinese market – it’s the Chinese everyday life in a nutshell.

Why is WeChat so successful in China?

Initially launched as the Chinese answer to WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook, WeChat has become a lot more over the years. There are several reasons for WeChat’s success.

Sheer scale

At the time of WeChat’s launch in 2011, its parent company Tencent enjoyed huge success with another social media platform known as QQ, which is still popular to this day. Tencent leveraged its enormous user base by letting QQ users migrate to WeChat with their existing accounts. The resulting scale put WeChat in a very favorable position right at the start.

Social media monopoly

One notable feature of China’s social media landscape is that foreign players like Facebook and Instagram are barred from entry. This restriction leaves WeChat with a virtual monopoly on the country’s social media market, with critics arguing that WeChat success might be largely owed to the unfair market reality working in its favor.


Despite enjoying a monopoly, WeChat supports many mobile payment methods, most notably allowing users to link their accounts with their bank accounts. At the same time, WeChat allows users to seek, buy and advocate a product or service on its platform.

Business and user-friendly

WeChat is strategic partners with prominent online service providers, like eCommerce platforms JD and taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing. Its QR code feature allows users to access unique brand content across all forms of online and offline touchpoints, and even consume and create content via WeChat Moments and chat with friends at the same time.

WeChat Moments are a crucial way to create marketing content.

With the unique nature of the Chinese consumer landscape, having a robust WeChat account is the gateway to success for brands wishing to access the 1.4 billion-people market.

Setting up an official WeChat account

You can also check out our step-by-step WeChat Official Account setup guide here!

Though WeChat may seem like a different ball game, you may feel reassured to find out that setting up a WeChat account isn’t hard. If you already know the basics of setting up any social media or eCommerce accounts, you’ll realize the skills required are very transferable.

But there are different types of WeChat business accounts, and it’s essential to pick one that works for your business. Now, let’s dig deeper and see what they are.

Types of WeChat business accountsFunction and usage
Subscription AccountFor broadcasting information (e.g. news or magazines), but only one message can be sent daily
Service AccountMainly for customer support (e.g. banks), but only 4 messages can be sent each month
Mini ProgramFor developers to create a mini app on WeChat to increase exposure and user experience
WeChat WorkDesigned for businesses and enterprises to improve internal communication

Which account should we choose?

It’s essential to think about your business needs before choosing the account type. If your business is B2B-based and attracting leads is your goal, creating an enterprise account may be your best bet. Or, if you’re a B2C business owner hoping to build an exceptional eCommerce experience, service accounts may be something you’d like to explore further.

Growing your business through WeChat marketing

As WeChat is your unparalleled tool for marketing to Chinese consumers, it’s worth your time to dig deeper into ways to grow your business with it.

Before you start:

  1. take some time to map out your WeChat content strategy

  2. think about what content you want to deliver on your account, what sort of content works better on this platform, and how you want to position yourself as a business

  3. determine what touchpoints you want to include, such as online payment, multimedia, or QR codes

One key WeChat feature is the mini-app program. These are essentially apps within the app for different purposes, such as banking and ride-sharing. Mini apps create one-stop access for multiple functions so that the overall user experience can be far more streamlined than those from other apps. Companies often choose to launch mini-apps to gradually expand their offerings on WeChat instead of launching multiple apps. Depending on your business nature, it’s worthwhile to explore how this unique feature can benefit you.

When opening your WeChat account for your business, bear in mind that the process takes 2 to 3 months on average. First and foremost, you need to set up a business registration in China and set up a store. The necessary documentation needs to be verified by Tencent, and the application must be made for the Chinese version of WeChat if it is to be visible in China.

If you want to know more about setting up a WeChat account, check out our WeChat official account setup guide. Need a helping hand in applying for the account? We do provide a one-stop application service. Talk to us!

Successful case studies: what others are doing?

For content, we often say that quality is key. This notion is especially true for WeChat, given the fierce competition and the sheer amount of content available. So having content that stands out and a coordinated customer experience across touchpoints are key to success. Here are 4 stories that we love of foreign brands delighting Chinese consumers.

Burberry and Chinese New Year

To connect with the Chinese audience, the luxury brand created a character called “Ratberry” and featured it across a series of exclusive WeChat stickers together with an online game. In the end, its play on the Chinese festival and homage to Chinese culture has helped the brand generate 300,000 views.


Coca-cola and Chinese fonts

To celebrate its 134th birthday, the global FMCG released a new WeChat Chinese font called “care”, with over 6,700 characters available for download for free. The vintage-looking fonts gave a human touch to the brand and made it a relatable success story. It generated over 100,000 views and was appreciated as a successful localization move.

Coca Cola created this WeChat font for its anniversary.

Helena Rubinstein mini-app

The global luxury skincare brand promoted its Powercell line through a mini-app campaign, allowing users to buy the product and advocate it directly on the app. Customers can share why they bought the product, and with that, the brand has addressed both the advocate and awareness consumer journey stages simultaneously.

Helena Rubinstein

Hotel The LinQ app control

The boutique hotel stepped up its servicing game by making it full of WeChat and internet-of-things offerings. Guests can link their accounts with the room controls by scanning a QR code from the hotel’s official account. With that, they can control everything in their hotel room within the WeChat app, from setting sleeping time to turning off the TV. This created an instant talking point and boosted the hotel’s popularity almost instantly.

LinQ’s WeChat app

If anything links these cases together, it’d be making good use of the app to enhance the customer experience and positively disrupt the usual user routine.

SleekFlow, an easier alternative to manage your WeChat account

The cases we just mentioned may seem too far-fetched to some as they may look too focused on big brands. But fret not, as we at SleekFlow are your eCommerce platform partner. Our system can integrate your business with WeChat. Open a WeChat account through us and take care of the verification process with us. We’ve prepared a guide on setting up WeChat with SleekFlow, so you can simplify the process and better manage it together with any other messaging tools you may have.

At SleekFlow, we support different solutions and platforms across stages and business priorities. Whether you’re focusing on sales optimizationmarketing, or enhancing your team’s customer support capabilities, our system can help you bring your business to the next level. With SleekFlow, you can keep everything centralized and streamlined, so you can attract leads, promote your brand and let your representatives work on the same projects seamlessly.  If you are already communicating with your customers through WhatsApp, Live Chat, or other means separately. Why not all-in-one?

Example of campaign setting with omnichannel platform

 Why not all-in-one?  

SleekFlow’s technological capabilities guarantee your business will always retain its zing. You can count on our bots and automation tools to answer customers’ inquiries around the clock, and at the same time, receive real-time analytics to understand your customers’ journeys and needs. We’re here to help you stand out.

Stay Tuned for our upcoming feature: WECHAT BROADCAST!
(Yes! Broadcasting messages via WeChat to a list of clients with just a few clicks!)

Sounds right? Talk to us through the Live Chat at the right bottom or WhatsApp us.

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