Chinese Communications Tools: And There Were Five (Part 2)

buddha-389883_1280In the previous blog, I highlighted three platforms that are shaping communications in China. While all three filled the void when the Government blocked access to Western apps, they are vital for any PR pros working in China.

Below are two that are slightly different. Like the previous three, the two began as Chinese alternatives. But today, they have evolved to become global leaders, making their Western counterparts monitor their evolution closely and even develop similar features.

For PR Pros, whether you are doing PR in China or globally, these two platforms are becoming increasingly indispensable:

  1. Youku

It’s YouTube for China, now owned by Alibaba. While YouTube provided a channel for amateurs, Youku is a professional platform for the maturing Chinese TV stations.

Youku provides various channels that television stations use to create communities and loyal viewership. Mostly, they meld both TV and online video platforms in a way unseen in the West until recently.

PR Pros can use Youku to post video content. In a country where characters reign, images have found a natural home. Videos are now consumed at unprecedented levels. This makes Youku a powerful platform for communications.

Youku’s success has created new alternatives that push the envelope on video-based social media and how you can monetize it. Look out for Baidu’s iQiyi (Baidu is the “B” in BAT), Huajiao and Inke which allow viewers to be rewarded in cash (not just with likes) for what they see. These platforms offer a new value proposition to video messaging. [bctt tweet=”THESE apps are vital for any #PR pros working in #China” username=”@BroadPR”]

  1. WeChat

This is the undisputed leader for messaging, made by Tencent. It started out as a QQ (see previous blog) for mobile users, but soon added more features. Like WhatsApp, it was designed ground up for mobile-first messaging.

Today, WeChat is leading the Western world with regard to building a mobile platform that melds business and consumer functions. Besides messaging, you can share updates with friends on a dedicated wall called Moments, buy online and at retail outlets with WePay (like PayPal), as well as settle utility bills or business invoices. It’s the one mobile social media platform that aims to rule them all.

PR Pros can do a lot more than tweet pitches or post story ideas. They can send customized multimedia messages and set up virtual stores where subscribers can receive messages from their favorite brands.

It is a super app, of which there is not an equivalent in the West.

Messaging on WeChat for PR Pros will be different than what most are used to. It is a crowded space; attention span is severely limited, and is entirely mobile focused. The fact that Tencent regularly adds new features that shape user behavior only makes messaging and engagement tougher. You can, however, be sure that nearly every journalist in China will have a WeChat account.

While the five platforms offer inroads to the Chinese market, PR Pros need to understand that you cannot easily transplant methods. While each platform requires a different strategy, they do not share data like their Western counterparts do. This is because they are all created by large rivals and block each other access. Each one also has their own pricing strategy.

This all means that PR Pros need to study these platforms carefully in order to use them optimally.