Email bd@octoplusmedia.com
Contact Us

China Marketing Insights Monthly Newsletter [November 2021]

Nov 2021 Newsletter l OctoPlus Media


Welcome to our November Newsletter.

As we draw closer to the end of another turbulent year, we see more optimism ahead! Tech crackdown is relentless, we see more heavy-handedness from Beijing and we round up some major news in our November update.

In this issue, we look at an insight report from Mafengwo about the travel pattern during the 2021 golden week. We look at insights from the 2021 marketers toolkit from WARC. Finally, we have Xiaohongshu or RED brand marketing manual.

We wrap up this newsletter with App of the month – flyerT – China’s frequent flyer social networking app.


Mia C. Chen

CEO & Co-Founder of OctoPlus Media

China Tech Crackdown – November updates

We continue our coverage on the great tech crackdown in China. If you have missed our previous coverage, read more about the Anti-monopoly crackdown, PIPL, Advertising law updates, October Update.

November has been a very busy month for China policymakers, several new draft laws were released for public comment.

First up is PIPL officially became law on November 1. We have covered this extensively in the past. On the same day, Yahoo stopped all its remaining online services in mainland China. While it was largely symbolic, most of yahoo services have been stopped for a long time now, Yahoo said the decision was made in recognition of the increasingly challenging business & legal environment in China.

Epic Games will no longer pursue launching its video game Fornite in China. While it has not had much luck even before because its local partner – Tencent never received approval to sell in-app items – the biggest source of revenue for these games, the strict limit on gaming hours for players under 18 also undoubtedly contributed to the decision.

At the end of October, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released draft rules that provide long-awaited details about a government security assessment process to be completed before transferring a wide variety of data out of China. The draft “Outbound Data Transfer Security Assessment Measures” (the 2021 draft Measures) are open for public comment until November 28.  While the text is vague as usual, there are several areas of data that would need to be addressed – Critical information infrastructure (信息), Important data (重要数据), Providing abroad (向境外提供) or outbound transfer (出境).

China’s internet regulator released draft rules on 14th Nov that would require companies listing in Hong Kong to undergo a cyber security review if the share sale could implicate national security, threatening a recent shift by tech groups to the territory. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s powerful data watchdog, announced in July that it would tighten rules for companies seeking to list overseas, with those that hold data on more than 1m users required to pass a security review. Most observers have noted that Hong Kong’s policy on data is not as strong as recently updated Mainland laws and hence there might be more segregation on how the rules might apply in Hong Kong.

Nov 3rd – China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has ordered 38 apps, including news and music services apps run by Tencent Holdings, as well as popular social media platforms such as Xiaohongshu, to rectify violations related to excessive data collection and publishing misleading information, as Chinese authorities maintain a regulatory crackdown. Tencent’s online music streaming app QQ Music was named by MIIT as having collected excessive personal information, while Tencent News and the company’s karaoke app WeSing were both found to have misled or deceived users. The lite version for UC Browser, operated by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, was also found to have deceived or misled users, and failed to clearly display information in the app store, according to the ministry.

Nov 10th – The market watchdog in the southern province of Guangdong summoned 16 e-commerce platform operators – including a branch under Alibaba Group Holding, Meituan’s group-buying business, and Vipshop – to warn them against “unfair competition” activities and other business malpractice, as Beijing’s ongoing antitrust crackdown weighs on Big Tech companies during this year’s Singles’ Day festival. The watchdog accused the companies of various irregularities including selling fake products, false advertising and poor after-sales services, according to a report published on Tuesday by state-run China Central Television (CCTV).

Nov 20th – the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) announced it had fined several companies including  Alibaba Group Holding, JD.com, Tencent Holdings, Baidu and ByteDance for failing to disclose 43 deals. The companies were fined 500,000 yuan (US$78,000) for each violation. The oldest infraction goes back to 2012, this shows that Beijing is serious about its anti-monopoly crackdown targeting the internet industry and will not hesitate to probe “misconduct” committed years ago.

Insight Report - China 2021 National Day Tourism

Mafengwo conducted a big data analysis based on the travel enthusiasm of this year’s Chinese National Day. The report shows that this year’s “self-driving tour” has become a standard for national travel, and it has promoted many niche surrounding tours and some new cool games. First of all, according to the analysis of the data, East China and Southwest China have become the top choices for self-driving tours with abundant scenic spots and scenery. Among them, Zhejiang and Sichuan are the most sought after. 2021 “National Day” Top 10 provinces ranking:

Insight Report - 2021 National Day Tourism l OctoPlus Media

In addition, the first Universal Studios that opened in Beijing this year promoted the popularity of Beijing to the top of the most popular cities with the “universal check-in fever”. Chengdu, Sichuan ranked second for its delicious food and spicy food, followed by Chongqing, Hangzhou and Shanghai.

In the post-epidemic era, the search popularity of “self-driving” has soared by 150%. In the MaFengWo’s hot search, no matter urban areas or scenic spots, self-driving is popular, making outdoor camping soaring by 200%. Ranked second in the National Day game play fever. However, there are also various ways to play and mix and match in camping. For example, Wugong Mountain, Dunhuang Desert, Bei Ji Campground, Huashan Mountain Viewing the Sunrise, etc. are the most popular camping activities. Mafengwo Tourism’s [Please get in the car on weekends] Urban Tide Tour IP, using “camping + new gameplay” to create weekend activities of different interest circles, such as camping + fly fishing, camping + paddle board yoga, cave camping + adventure, ruin camping + New gameplay such as script killing and so on.

POI Analysis

According to data, the city’s CBD is the preferred hotel area for travelers, especially for convenience. For example, dreamy hotels surrounded by many food, shopping malls, duty-free shops, and beautiful scenery have become popular hotels on the National Day. Of course, the homestay business district is also another night of dream life, especially young travelers who love homestays. They yearn for the clean natural scenery of the countryside, the slow time of art and literature in the old streets of the ancient city, such as West Lake and Wuzhen in Zhejiang. This National Day ranked first in the B&B business district.

The top three are Sanya International Duty Free City, Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu and Tunxi Old Street. From the data point of view, the consumption of literature and art that pays for feelings has gradually increased, such as literature and art exploration shops or buying flowers and reading books.

“All nights are not happy” “无夜不欢“

Young people who love nightlife are also indispensable for night tours to see the wonderful activities when they travel. The most popular night tour destination for this year’s National Day is Chongqing’s Liangjiang Night Tour. Others include the wild bonfire party in Xishuangbanna and Disney Lights. Qimeng night light phantom show and old street night market squares in various cities.

Popular scenic spots in China

As the first Universal Studios to open in China, Universal Beijing Resort deserves to be the first place in the list of “popular scenic spots”, “surrounding popular scenic spots” and “popular theme parks”. Even so, mountains, rivers, lakes and seas are still strong, and occupy 17 seats in the entire TOP20 list: extinct volcanoes Weizhou Island, Mogan Mountain, Wugong Mountain and Dongshan Island rank 2nd to 5th for their freshness and naturalness. It can be seen that The people love outdoor activities and pursue the outing experience with emotional and beautiful scenery.

The data also shows that museums and skiing activities have reached their peak during the National Day. The most eye-catching is the Sanxingdui Museum, which re-excavated in 2021 and used live broadcast to arouse travelers’ curiosity about ancient or cultural relics, followed by the Internet celebrity Xi’an.

Traveller demographic

In the gender and age distribution of the 2021 “National Day” travel population, women accounted for 62% and men only 38%; and the total population of post-00s and post-90s accounted for more than 48%, so it seems that young women have become the main decision makers and drive The wind direction of the tourist market. In addition, about 21% of them belong to people who like to travel alone. Other travelers prefer to travel with friends, family and lovers. Compared with long-distance travel of ten and a half days, 56% are young People are more inclined to travel lightly for about 3 days. The data in the final report showed that the search for “National Day niche gameplay” increased by as much as 256%, making it the number one hot search. The most popular issues were the check-in, recommended routes and tickets for Universal Studios Beijing.

Insight Report - 2021 National Day Tourism l OctoPlus Media

 Contact Us to discuss your China Marketing activities.

Insight Report – 2021 Marketer’s toolkit

WARC recently released the Chinese report “Marketer’s Toolkit 2021”, which combines the current economic and social challenges, based on effective marketing, based on factual cases, and the “STEPIC” methodology, divided into the following six major themes:

Society: Chinese consumers not only pay attention to price but also pay more and more attention to whether the brand can bring value-added services and emotional experience beyond the product itself. In addition, due to the epidemic, people tend to pursue healthy diets and lifestyles, and health has become a factor to be considered when strengthening the development and promotion of brands

Technology: Through the application of technologies such as mobile payment, e-commerce, 5G, AI, and the Internet of Things, to meet the scenarios and individual requirements of consumers, it can reach the core population of the brand more accurately, instead of maintaining continuous interaction.

Economy: China has vigorously promoted the internal and external dual-cycle policy, and local brands and domestic products have taken advantage of the rise; at the same time, rural consumers have become a major force in online shopping, so exploring local brands and sinking markets is the focus of brand strategy one.

Policy: The standardization and systemization of the industry is imperative. Since 2020, governments at all levels in China have intensively introduced relevant policies to supervise and regulate some emerging formats in the advertising and marketing industry (such as webcast e-commerce, community group buying, etc.), and impose restrictions on marketers in their subsequent marketing strategies and promotion activities.

Industry: Volatility, uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity forces marketers to increase their ability to respond to changes. Marketing professionals need to understand and master the different permutations and combinations of short-term, medium-term and long-term effects.

  1. To achieve short-term results, it is necessary to balance long-term construction. For example, the short-term sales drive of live broadcast marketing should be combined with the building of brand marketing, which can be achieved by connecting with experts and providing educational content.

  2. The marketing department should become an information centre, not only to deliver brand information to the market, but also to give full play to the role of information collection/market research, and in turn, deliver market information to the brand.

  3. Keep advertising share and search share. During economic difficulties, letting the advertising share not be less than the market share is the correct way to maintain the brand’s position; if the marketing budget must be reduced, the search share can be monitored and the signs of losing market share can be detected early.

  4. Expand the share of voice volume through channel integration. The role of online channels should be to bring consumers more experiences beyond sales, such as social interaction and content interaction.

Creativity: Creativity needs to break through the circle of interest and meet individual needs. New cooperation methods such as national tide culture, cross-industry co-branding, KOL cooperation, and interaction with e-sports players have emerged one after another; while international brands use local culture to reach young consumers, they need to use local culture on the basis of truly understanding the audience, to convey a brand spirit that praises and encourages young people to bravely accept their own culture.

Case Studies

  • [Society] – Dubai Tourism X KEEP Fitness Challenge

The Dubai Tourism Bureau cooperated with Keep, an emerging fitness platform in China, to find a “big health” fit for the newly introduced national fitness program, and attract Chinese users to actively participate.

By launching the Keep “30-day clock in the legendary city” online challenge, everyone is encouraged to enjoy a healthy life. Users exercising for 30 minutes a day can unlock famous landmarks in Dubai, integrating scene-based experience into fitness activities, and also great for future outbound travels.

Dubai Tourism X KEEP Fitness Challenge l OctoPlus Media
  • [Technology] – Volkswagen AI Video

Volkswagen wants to create a car model that focuses on human-computer interaction in the car, and takes advantage of the young consumers’ preference for new technologies and entertaining content to create a scientific and technologically interactive series “Knock Sounds Tomorrow”.

The love-themed interactive feature film “True AI is Coming” in the album allows viewers to choose the ending of the story. Volkswagen obtained samples of the audience through user interaction, and learned their preferences through user choices in the story, and used these insights. In the development of future models.

  • [Economy] – Huaxizi wins with national cultural values

Huaxizi, a local cosmetics brand that has only been established three years ago, is based on the concept of “Oriental Makeup”. Its “Miao Impression” series of products are designed to inherit the traditional Miao silver craftsmanship and have been widely recognized. Huaxizi won the double 11 in 2020. This was second place in the Tmall cosmetics sales list.

Huaxizi and “People’s Daily” filmed an intangible heritage documentary to create high-definition makeup, presenting the beauty of traditional Miao silver, and giving the tradition a sense of fashion.

Huaxizi wins with national cultural values l OctoPlus Media

For more case studies & details of “STEPIC” – talk to us to get the full report & strategies on your china activations.

2021 Xiaohongshu Brand Marketing Manual

Yien Century Data Technology conducted a brand marketing analysis based on the consumption industry of Xiaohongshu this year. Xiaohongshu, as the “content seeding” aggregation place of major brands, realizes the transformation from “content seeding” to “content syndication” through live streaming e-commerce, social e-commerce, and private domain diversion at the time of traffic growth. The actions have ushered in a new round of changes for the brands, and has become a high ground for cutting-edge brand marketing.

I. What content do users and consumers of Xiaohongshu care about?

With the changes in overall consumption trends this year, the hot content of Xiaohongshu has undergone new changes.

According to the “Yien 2021 Xiaohongshu Brand Marketing Manual”, from January to May 2021, travel, beauty, and fashion content are the most searched content. Obviously more diversified content is occupying the territory of Xiaohongshu, and it also brings opportunities for more industry brands.

TOP content label classification from January to May 2021

XHS Top Content Label Classification l OctoPlus Media

II. New brands are quickly entering the vision of new consumer groups. How can brands choose KOLs rationally and optimize the input-output ratio?

A. Status quo of delivery

It is not the high popularity of KOLs that can bring brand commercial value. Through the comparative analysis of the hot list and the hot investment list, it is found that the overlap between the hot KOL and the commercial hot investment KOL is only 13%. KOLs with commercialization capabilities generally open live broadcast functions, and diversified content expression, conversion paths, and targeted content will be more conducive to higher returns.

B. High-quality brand launch

Through the observation of the TOP50 popular brands of Xiaohongshu in each month of 2021, it is found that the beauty brand is still the Top 1 brand, and the FMCG products such as daily chemicals and small home appliances are also emerging on the list. Only 13 brands will be on the 2021 Xiaohongshu TOP50 Hot Brand List, of which beauty brands account for about 84.6%, and most of their notes are top KOLs. 、Mid-waist KOL is mainly used, with better content quality and influence.

The 13 hottest brands of Xiaohongshu in 2021:

C. Brand content analysis

Popular grass-growing content is based on the product itself. The trial experience, unboxing evaluation, red and black list, product evaluation, and ingredient science have become the first choice for brand grass-planting; strategic placement will help brand advertisers reduce time and energy. The cost of trial and error, the ultimate goal of faster harvesting of product efficiency.

Top 10 popular grass growing content:

Top 10 popular grass growing content l OctoPlus Media

If you need specific strategies for XHS advertising and help with campaigns, Contact Us!


App of the month - FlyerT

FlyerT.com is a well-known Chinese frequent flyer social networking site that provides credit card information sharing, hotel reviews and travel guides for frequent hotel guests and airline frequent guests. It has been in operation since 2009.

FlyerT l OctoPlus Media

It is China’s largest airline frequent flyer member social networking site and China’s second-largest credit card community. It currently has 1.8 million members and average daily page views of more than 5 million. FlyerT has more than 200 official partners and has in-depth cooperation with brands such as Marriott, Starwood, IHG, Hilton, Hyatt, Accor, Shangri-La, etc.

FlyerT member portrait – Natural and social attributes:

  • 75% of FlyerT members are men; 25% are women.

  • Most members are between 20 and 40 years old, accounting for 80%.

  • More than 80% of members live in first-tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and other developed areas, which are consistent with the current trend of in-counter economic development and business travel needs. This part of the members accounted for a total of 73%.

  • Most FlyerT members are engaged in technology, financial investment and professional service industries. More than 41% of the members hold management positions in the company.

FlyerT l OctoPlus Media

FlyerT member portrait — Consumption habits:

  • Members choose FlyerT’s website and official channels as their first choice for inquiries, accounting for up to 72%.

  • Among the various purchase channels, FlyerT members are absolutely loyal to the official channels. Among them, up to 84% of local members will give priority to choosing official purchase channels (official website, APP, mini program). Only a small percentage will choose to book through OTA channels.


Advertising model

PC official website

FlyerT’s PC end has a wide range of advertisements, covering multiple locations on the official website, reaching users more effectively, ensuring brand information is conveyed, realizing official website diversion, and directing all website traffic to the brand official website.

FlyerT Ad l OctoPlus Media

APP Advertising

FlyerT advertising advantages

  • Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing can accurately target business travellers with higher purchasing power. Focus on the integration of frequent flyers of airlines, elite members of hotel groups and high-end credit card holders. Compared with price war marketing, integrated marketing can more effectively highlight the competitive advantages of partners and expand their influence.

  • Official website diversion

Diversified advertisements on the official website ensure that website traffic is directly redirected to the brand’s official website.

  • In-depth brand cooperation, precise crowd positioning advantage

FlyerT has a wealth of major brand cooperation cases, fully understands users’ preferences and habits, and is an efficient and vertical brand communication medium.

To learn more about FlyerT advertising, please Contact Us!


– 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 | Malaysia


Feel free to talk to us

Talk to our team.

It’s a team with one single shared goal, which is our client’s success. 

Deliver results for your business now. 

 Email bd@octoplusmedia.com

    Leave a Reply