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China Marketing Insights Monthly Newsletter [September 2020]


Welcome to our September Newsletter.

China’s big holiday is coming up and all indications point to a block buster domestic travel season within Mainland China & Macau. Recent reports have shown quite a few 5-star hotels in Macau fully booked for Golden week and prices and several others almost 3 times the normal rates.

We have prepared a detail report on Hainan Travel Insights to help brands prepare for a more effective marketing campaign to attract the visitors to the duty-free destination.

In this issue, learn more about Angela Zhang’s first ever live-stream event on Douyin that we just completed.

In Insights section, we have a new mid year report from RED on the beauty industry. Under media updates, we cover two recent events – a new search functionality within WeChat and latest restriction around live streaming.

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

From all of us here at OctoPlus Media, wishing you and your family good health and safety.  


Mia C. Chen

CEO & Co-Founder of OctoPlus Media

2020 XHS mid-year beauty industry report

In order to have a better insight into the beauty industry and understand the changes in the beauty industry in 2020, XHS and the international market research company Ipsos jointly published the latest Mid-Year beauty insights Report. The report analyzes the current situation and trend of XHS beauty industry from beauty market insights, beauty user profiles, and marketing suggestions between January and June of 2020. At present, XHS MAU has reached more than 100 million, and the consumption users of beauty makeup content account for 56%, covering various forms of related content sharing such as Graphic & Contest notes, videos and live streaming, etc.

Key Insights from the report:

Beauty market insights

The pandemic has accelerated the online marketing, and the brands have shifted their marketing activities to online marketing, relying more on content communities and short videos / live-streaming. The online marketing mode makes consumers to have a stronger sense of participation and better experience, and further stimulates consumers’ desire for shopping. The beauty industry has returned rapidly since April, and it’s showing an upward trend.

Beauty user profiles

  • The consumer group of female beauty content is getting younger.

Of all the female users who read about beauty content, 42% are from new 1st-tier cities, such as Chengdu and Nanjing, as well as 2nd-tier cities. The group has a clear trend of getting younger and expanding to more sinking cities.

XHS female Beauty user profiles
  • Male beauty content consumer groups are mainly in 1st & 2nd tier cities.

The trends for male beauty content consumers on the XHS app paralleled the women’s, Male uers are young people around 25 years old and mainly in 1st & 2nd tier cities. Men’s preference is for skin care, personal care needs and perfume also ballooned among male users.

XHS male Beauty user profiles

Marketing suggestions

  1. Brands should build trust through KOL as a way to do greater business with consumers (known as the B2K2C loop).
  2. Good at using high quality beauty bloggers for sharing true feelings and building reputation.
  3. Combined with the popular topics of beauty cosmetics in the community, to motivate users to share actively.

Hainan Travel Insights

Hainan has become a hot destination for travel this year. With gold-sand beaches, balmy weather & a tropical paradise it has always enjoyed a special status to attract the local domestic market.

With Covid-19 pretty much decimating international travel, most Chinese travellers are content with travelling domestically. In addition to this, Hainan is the only province in China that can enjoy duty-free shopping. The Chinese government recently has increased the duty-free limit from 30,000 RMB to 100,000 RMB and additional categories to entice more domestic purchases.

We have compiled detailed travel insights about these travellers, here is a preview of the insights, get in touch for a full report.

There has been a steady increase in visitor numbers over the past several years, 57% of the visitors aged 21-50.

Average spending per trip is around RMB 5,000

Duty-free is an important component of Hainan Tourism, it has increased to over 13.6 Billion RMB in 2019 and was projected to grow even higher this year.

Post lockdown in China, more domestic travellers are interested in Hainan, which domestic intra-province is still high, this has come down and now accounts for only 23%

If you are interested to find out more about the detail report, reach out to us!


Douyin, the Chinese version of Tiktok, with more than 400 million DAU, it’s a leading short video app owned by ByteDance. In reality, TikTok and Douyin are two separate apps for different markets; Douyin is for China launched in 2016 while TikTok for English speaking markets, launched in 2017. The app has powerful editing capabilities and enables users to add music, effects to their videos in order to make them more interesting creative, and helping users record beautiful moments in their lives, which are popular among young people.

Douyin Platform:

  • DAU: 400 million+
  • Average daily opens per user: 23 times
  • Average daily time spent per user: 69 mins

Douyin User:

  • Male – Female: 51.9% – 48.1%
  • Age: 80% of Douyin users are from major consumer groups aged 19-40
  • Location: 1st & 2nd cities: 38%+, 3rd & 4th cities: 47%

Douyin Ad Type:

  • Open screen ads
  • In-feed Ads

New WeChat function - Fingertip search

Recently, Tencent WeChat team officially launched a new search function called “fingertip search”, which allow users press text, and search directly without leaving the WeChat interface.

With this function, users can search the content they want in the dialog box more directly, quickly and conveniently. The search results not only integrate the exclusive content of wechat official account, wechat video account, wechat moments and wechat mini-programs, but also include other external content, such as zhihu, sogou search and other relevant platform content. With its huge user base and search function, WeChat is no longer just a chat tool, but a universal application that can cater the daily needs of users.

In China, the internet is very fragmented between different tech giants. Baidu does not show up any WeChat or Douyin videos, articles or links. WeChat does not show Taobao goods. This has forced each of the giants to rapidly innovate and keep the eyeballs within the app ecosystem for as long as possible. Search has become the new frontier to ensure the user stays on longer and finds all required information with the app.

What does this mean for Marketeers?

Marketeers need to ensure that their product and promotions gain more visibility with the WeChat search ecosystem. One of the key strategies we have been promoting is CSEO or Content SEO. We promote KOLs & KOCs to write promotional articles for the brand and ensure through our optimisation techniques to ensure these articles are at the top of search result organically.

Angela Zhang’s first Douyin commercial Live-Streaming

Starry Asia Entertainment and us (OctoPlus Media) have just recently completed Angela Zhang’s first-ever live-streaming event and it has been a huge success. We were able to hit multiple milestones during the event. Our team has worked hard together and we were able to create a wonderful story together from the start to the end.

The live-streaming event started at 7 pm (GMT+8) on 12th September and ended at 12:16 am the next day. We achieved a total amount of 12,153,158 of viewers throughout the entire event, with the peak concurrent users of 240,126.

There were total numbers of 48 products on the shelf during the events and we managed to achieve a total of 62,883 sales with total revenue of 10,955,194 yuan.

Angela Zhang was the spotlight throughout the whole event. She started the live-stream event with a total number of 6,862,285 fans on her Douyin account and ended up with 7,364,786 fans, with the growth of total amount 502,501 on her followers.

Throughout the event, Angela Zhang also received total numbers of 738,720 sound waves (also known as Yinlang, reward income received by the host). Based on the conversion ratio, which currently is 1 yuan equal to 10 Yinlang, Angela received a total amount of 73,872 yuan as her reward income.

Event by the numbers:

  1. The most sales that were made was between the time of 8:35 pm and 8:54 pm.
  2. Majority of the audiences were male at 58% while female audiences are 42%.
  3. The age group of 25 to 30 years made up the majority at 39%; whereas audiences between the age group of 36 to 40 years old and above were the smallest group of audiences at just 8%.

What’s Next?

After this huge success, we are planning for multiple other celebrities live streaming event on Douyin. We are also building custom Douyin mini-programs for event partners and brands to take advantage of direct e-commerce within Douyin.

If you are interested to learn more, reach out to us!

China‘s network live-streaming marketing supervision is coming soon

Livestream selling is all the rage in China, but recently Chinese regulators are preparing to impose new regulations on the booming use of live streaming. It aims to form a long-term mechanism to rectify abuses such as sales of counterfeit products, false advertising and fake traffic volume.

Most significantly, the regulation clarifies anchor’s legal responsibilities, mean that video bloggers and anchors will be considered businesses in and of themselves. This will substantially alter their legal liabilities, as they will have to obey a broader e-commerce law that was implemented last year. That law requires, for example, that businesses verify their identities before they start livestreaming.

The most controversial issue is whether these anchors should be defined as advertising endorsers. This would make them subject to additional regulations including prohibitions aginst the use of certain terms, such as “best” or “top”, when promoting products. This can be the biggest headache for anchor, as many people are used to using exaggerated words to describe what they are selling, which may cause misunderstanding for viewers, but it is also a way to attract attention.

Although the changes represent potential risk for brands, representatives from e-commerce platforms and influencer agencies welcome the moves because bring healthy competition into the market will also bring long-term benefits to the development of the industry.

– 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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