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China Marketing Insights Monthly Newsletter [July 2020]


Welcome to our July Newsletter.

A sign of more normalcy coming back to China – this month, the famous Gāo Kǎo – 高考 was held, over 10.7 million students took the exam. Trip.com Group’s BigData report on Dragon Boat Festival travel shows over 37.7 million trips made, with combined spending of close to 10 Billion RMB.

In this issue, our centrepiece is about the new marketing solution for Travel Retail & Duty-Free shops to market to Chinese directly while they are not travelling. OctoPlus Media unveiled e-commerce mini-program built for China Duty-Free & Lotte Duty-Free where brands can directly sell to Chinese members without the need for travel.

In marketing insights, we take a look at how Starbucks created social media buzz after the Gāo Kǎo. We have an also prepared an easy guide to understand different apps in China & what are their corresponding apps in the western world.

Finally, in our app of the month, we take a closer look at Douban app.

From all of us here at OctoPlus Media, we wish you and your family great health and safety.


Mia C. Chen

CEO & Co-Founder of OctoPlus Media

The Rise of Cross-border e-commerce during Covid-19 time

As the representative of luxury operators and the travel retail industry, the Duty-Free Group has committed to the global offline sales business. However, with the rapid development of digitalisation of Chinese consumers and the devastating impact of the epidemic, it is critical to plan the sales business for the travel retail industry. The answer to this is to “Develop cross-border e-commerce business“.

In the first half of 2020, when the pandemic was severe, we helped CDF launch an official cross-border e-commerce WeChat mini-program – “CDF Member Purchase”, whereby CDF could still provide members with exclusive benefits and shopping experiences amidst the pandemic. We also helped Lotte Duty-Free to launch a cross-border WeChat Mini program called “Jí Huò Jiē”. All products were delivered directly from official Lotte Duty-Free Shop, forgoing the traditional way of overseas online shopping. The duty-free shops prepare and deliver the products directly from South Korea. The products can be tracked throughout the process and delivery is within 7-10 days.

The WeChat mini-program of Duty-Free was a huge success when it launched. The CDF mini-program, in particular, was reported by multiple media outlet in China. Meanwhile, based on its huge membership and sales commission system, it achieved high revenue within 2 months of its launch.

CDF (China Duty-Free) and LDF (Lotte Duty-Free) will connect with overseas brands to conduct a series of marketing campaigns and live streaming activities with the largest Duty-Free stores in China and South Korea with our services. With this, the travel retail brands can transform previous offline into online e-commerce campaigns. We have multiple solutions to market products directly to Chinese consumers regardless of whether they are in duty-free shops in China or Korea.

The complete solutions for CDF and LDF’s Cross-border WeChat mini program are provided by The Big Three alliances (OctoPlus Media, Trello under Ymatou, Hipopay), a one-stop cross-border solution specialist. We have built this cross-border e-commerce solution into a mature WeChat Mini program SaaS system, which is specially designed for medium-sized and large enterprises with businesses in China.

With this mini-program, we can sell directly to Chinese in China without the need for them to travel. Check out by scanning the mini-program codes below.

About OctoPlus

OctoPlus is a one-stop solution provider for integrated marketing, brand marketing, effective marketing and PR in China. OctoPlus has successfully served hundreds of cross-border businesses in and out of the country through its AI-based marketing efficiency improvement solutions based on its years of experience. OctoPlus is also the industry leader in the new field of WeChat cross-border live streaming in 2020. It helps overseas brands and companies to successfully enter the Chinese market at a critical timing and successfully reach Chinese consumers. It also relies on the strong private traffic of the trust ecosystem with high stickiness and high conversion rate.

About Trello & Ymatou

Trello is an e-commerce platform designed for overseas purchasing compliance and tax coordination: Helping overseas companies to legally open stores, avoid WeChat transfer and RMB collection risks, provide legal channels for foreign currency exchange, reasonable tax avoidance and export tax rebates, and provide customs declaration services for “Three Documents “(Declaration Form, Payment List and Logistics Waybill). The service also includes buyers paying in RMB and sellers legally withdraw in foreign currency. It also supports real-time exchange rates and commodity foreign currency prices.

The main technical team and technical framework of Trello are from Ymatou, a leader in China’s independent overseas shopping platform established in 2010. The merchants on the Ymatou are distributed in 83 countries around the world, such as The United States, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. As a one-stop overseas shopping platform, Ymatou focuses on connecting the global retail market with local consumption in China and is committed to providing Chinese consumers with high-quality and rich commodities from all over the world as well as trendy lifestyle and cultural concepts. Through live streaming of overseas brands and the fast and safe cross-border shipping, Chinese consumers can enjoy authentic overseas products and services without leaving home. In early 2016, with the implementation of the cross-border “4•8” tax reform policy, Ymatou quickly understood that further documentation was required by customs – (Declaration Form, Payment List and Logistics Waybill). The understanding was only made possible based on years of international logistics experience, laying a solid foundation to improve logistics efficiency continuously.

About Hipopay

HipoPay is TransferEasy Group’s cross-border financial services product, which focuses on providing customised cross-border payment solutions for overseas merchants (both online and offline). The payment network now covers the United States, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong and other countries/regions.

Taking advantage of China's Gāo Kǎo, Starbucks has won a marketing victory

China’s national college entrance examination (also known as Gāo Kǎo – 高考) has finally concluded. Over 10.7 million students sat for China’s most important and life-defining exam. The gaokao is an examination that is taken by Chinese students in their final year of high school typically from June 7 & 8 (however, this year it has been delayed 1 month because of the epidemic).

Every year the Gaokao is a huge topic in Chinese society. Why does it matter? Because it is the sole criteria for determining university admissions in China, and brands conceptualise related campaigns to show their support and using this as a marketing opportunity.

This year, we reviewed several activations & found that Starbuck’s marketing strategy is the most compelling case study.

At the end of the Gao Kao, Starbucks launched a week-long campaign whereby students were treated to Honeydew Melon Frappucino by presenting their exam admission ticket or any admission ticket, even those creatively made were allowed. This activity immediately triggered interaction and engagement of netizens which was quickly shared and spread and garnered more extensive attention. Various DIY admission tickets appeared one after another.

DIY Admission Tickets

Weibo Topic #高考结束 星巴克请你吃瓜# ( #Starbucks offering Honeydew Melon Frappuccino after Gao Kao end#) generated 34.1 million impressions and 42,000 discussions.

Timing is a key factor in the success of Starbucks’ marketing campaign, focusing on the end of the exam instead of during the peak period. In terms of ad creative copywriting, although it wasn’t explicitly mentioned that it was a buy one get one free promotion, the activity enhanced communication and conversion rate tremendously, resulting in a wide range of UGC and social topics which improved the marketing result.

A well-established culture-focused platform - Dou Ban

post cover-douban

Douban aims to offers “lifestyle and culture” products and services for white-collar urbanites and college students. A large proportion of which are reviews of books and movies in addition to art and hobby-related content. The content has shaped the development of Douban and it has increasingly attracted user interest over time.

Douban platform value:

  • 200 million registered users
  • 500 million MAU
  • 800 million DPV

Douban User:

  • Highly educated and internationalised (82.9% of users have a bachelors degree, or above, 30% have a background of studying abroad)
  • Focused on developed cities/countries (1st – tier cities/new 1st – tier cities and overseas developed countries)
  • Majority of the users comprises of those born between 1985 to 1995, accounting for more than 86%)
  • The ratio of men and women is balanced, close to 1:1 (47.7% males, 52.3% females)

Douban Major Section:

  • Douban Knowledge
  • Douban Music/Douban FM
  • Douban Reading
  • Douban Movie
  • Douban Writing
  • Douban Group
  • Douban Event
  • Douban E-commerce

Douban Ad Type

Open screen ads & Banners ads

(Multiple images/Large images)

Douban Content Marketing

Online+Offline creative campaigns (OnePlus Mobile phone as an example)

Result: Comprehensive online & offline exposure with over 250 original manuscripts and 2.06 billion exposure.

Online: Create a trend music week
Offline: exposure activities

China resumes trans-provincial group tourism + Ctrip Dragon Boat Festival big data = The tourism market is ready to start

On July 14th, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on its website that both offline and online travel agencies could resume their services and offer trans-provincial group tours as well as flight bookings and hotel reservations, except for mid- and high-risk regions. The maximum number of visitors to scenic areas is limited to 50% of the tourist attraction’s capacity, up from the previous 30% cap. This will effectively improve the tourism consumption of tourist attractions in neighbouring provinces, greatly restoring the China domestic tourism market. Additionally, the summer vacation will further increase travel demands.

In it’s latest released “2020 Dragon Boat Festival Holiday Tourism Big Data Report” leading international online travel services provider Trip.com Group highlighted the latest positive trends in travel in the China market. According to the report, throughout the first two days of the holiday period, a total of 37.77 million domestic trips were made, generating 9.66 billion RMB (1.379 billion USD) in tourism revenue, exceeding the same figures for the three-day-long April Qingming Festival holiday period. The report also observes an encouraging return in demand for transport and accommodation, with month-on-month growth of 15% in the hotel sector, and 13% in transportation.

The search demand and booking of air tickets for domestic travel during the Dragon Boat Festival returned to 70% of the same period last year. Railway travel achieved a record high since the Lunar New Year peak travel period, serving 7.53 million passengers on June 25th alone. According to air ticket data from Ctrip and train ticket bookings during the Dragon Boat Festival, Sanya, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou are the four cities with the highest frequency of departures and arrivals.

– End of the Newsletter –

A Joint Collaborative Initiative By OctoPlus Media & China Trading Desk

OctoPlus Media Global Limited

Hong Kong | Shen Zhen | Guang Zhou | Singapore


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 Email bd@octoplusmedia.com

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