5 apps to consider beyond WeChat & Weibo


Any brand looking to venture into China would definitely have heard of WeChat. The ‘super-app’ has made the world take notice by incorporating instant messaging with eCommerce, from social networking to information hub… you name it, WeChat would have it (or probably on its way to developing it now).

Then of course, we have Weibo, the Twitter equivalent in China, which still has over 340M users in Q1, 2017, and is still the key source for news and updates online.

Even though China’s digital landscape is dominated by the BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent), there are several apps which brands should be considering when it comes to reaching more targeted audience in China.

Some of these apps require a lower media spent, or they could simply be looking for brands to collaborate with for a more global presence. Here are 5 apps brands should be considering to collaborate with when it comes to China.


1. Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu)

Little Red Book is a social e-commerce app founded in 2013, and has seen over 15 million downloads within 3 years. Over 80% of users are under 30 years old and 90% are female. With over five million monthly users, influencers have also emerged from this app, and have been known to elevate relatively unknown brands into the hearts of Chinese consumers. This app allows users to share product reviews and promotions of mainly international brands, and most importantly, where and how to buy them (or simply by buying them directly on the site).


2. Meituan-Dianping

Founded in 2013, Meituan-Dianping can be seen as the Yelp+Groupon+Deliveroo of China. It is now China’s leading O2O (Online To Offline) platform with over 280 million annual active users and works with over 5 million merchants. In October, it became the world’s fourth-most valuable startup.

Hotel chains are also known to partner with Meituan-Dianping to facilitate bookings as well. The site lists 15,000 luxury hotels in China, which represents 92 percent of all luxury hotels.


3. TikTok (Douyin)

TikTok is currently one of China’s most popular music-video app. Users can easily create unique short videos to share with their peers and showcase their talent online. Tik Tok also partnered with Chinese video platform iQIYI to curate the market’s very first and most viewed hip-hop talent show of 2017. Incorporating music, video and stickers…. what’s not to like?


4. FaceU

Introduced in 2016, this app has generated a lot of buzz due to its celebrity following. Think Snapchat where you can add adorable stickers and features to your picture.

Popular stars such as AngelaBaby, Hebe (from SHE) and TFboys have been using this app to personalize their photos and sharing on social. With over 60 million users, brands such as Starbucks and Nike have jumped on the bandwagon to collaborate with FaceU.


5. Meitu

Taking selfies, beautifying them and then sharing on your social platforms…that’s probably one of the most prominent traits we can see from most consumers these days. Meitu has already been recognized internationally, and with over 450 million users, and brands have also taken notice. In 2016, Fendi collaborated with Meitu to launch a series of exclusive Fendi frames and stickers for the launch of its “Hypnoteyes” collection.

Are there other apps you’re exploring? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Ying is an Account Director at Hylink UK, China’s largest independent full-service digital advertising agency . She has over 12 years of experience working across markets in China, SEA, Australia, US and London, helping brands cross the cultural differences between Asia and the rest of the world.