News From China
A record 34 brands participated as sponsors of this year’s Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, which ran from November 19-23 and culminated with the industry awards ceremony on the final evening. Audi, Chevrolet, Hennessy, and Voss were among the Western names involved as sponsors, but the status of two European fashion houses remained unclear. The disgraced-in-China brand Versace appeared to have staged a major comeback coup when it announced that it was the exclusive fashion sponsor for the festival, but its WeChat post on the subject subsequently disappeared. Rival Dior later appeared on the list of sponsors on the festival, but apparently it too was removed, as the brand has also faced controversy over its use of a map of China that excluded Taiwan. The festival also announced that it will move from its current biannual format to become an annual event starting next year, so brands will have more opportunities to participate going forward.
Harper’s Bazaar China hosted its 17th annual Stars’ Charity Night on November 16 at the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing, bringing together celebrities and fashion for a good cause in China’s version of the Met Gala. The event has been in a bit of a flux since the departure of editor-in-chief and Charity Night founder Su Mang from the publication in May 2018, and this year displayed a shift in strategy that highlighted highly popular, traffic-generating celebrities, major influencers and top livestreamers such as Viya, who hosted an online charity sale featuring consumer brands — among them Unilever, TWG Tea and Kind Bars — that drew more than 7 million viewers.
China’s major ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing has founded a media company. Didi’s operator established an entity in Beijing with an investment of RMB 10 million ($1.4 million) as an anticipated initial step into domestic television and film, with Didi’s head of marketing as its legal representative. The move into branded content could help boost Didi’s image, which has suffered amid harsh criticism of its app’s performance and in the aftermath of the murders of two female passengers last year.
Wanda Media and liquor brand Wuliangye announced a strategic cooperation agreement that will see the two companies collaborate on a range of projects including brand integration in film and television, sporting events, cultural tourism, and the development of specialty stores offering food and beverage experiences in top-tier cities.
Travel and outdoor reality shows are increasingly popular with Chinese viewers, and brands have taken note. These types of shows offer opportunities for a range of brands, from food and beverage to clothing to home goods, and since many of the shows follow celebrities in the course of their daily lives, products can be placed in relatively natural manner. They also enable long-term cooperation between platforms, celebrities and brands to form an effective marketing loop.
China Central Television has jumped into short video with the launch of its Central Video app, which aims to reach viewers in the 20-45 age group. Popular CCTV host Kang Hui’s first vlog on the platform went viral, with Weibo discussions of the topic gaining 290 million views. In addition to offerings from the state broadcaster’s on-air personalities, major content producers such as iQiyi, Youku, Tencent, and Wanda have all created accounts and to share short videos on the new platform.
The Key Opinion Amateur, or KOA, is the latest trend in China’s influencer scene, following KOLs (key opinion leaders) and, more recently, KOCs (key opinion consumers). KOAs occupy a middle ground, less specialized than KOLs, but with more influence than KOCs, and are playing an increasingly important role as content creators to meet the surge in demand from Chinese platforms.
News in English
- Douyin is expanding its e-commerce capabilities by allowing users to apply for “personal virtual windows” with shoppable links for products featured in its short videos. KrAsia
- Rival short video platform Kuaishou scored an exclusive interactive content partnership with CCTV for its 2020 Spring Festival Gala, giving it management rights over ads leading up to show, livestreams of the event and other interactive promotional activities. Pandaily
- Douyin parent Bytedance overtook Baidu and Tencent in digital ad revenue in the first half of 2019, ranking second only to Alibaba. It drew RMB 50 billion ($7 billion) in digital media spending, accounting for 23 percent of the market, according to a report by R3. CNBC
- The next question is whether Bytedance will challenge Spotify’s dominance in global music streaming. The Chinese tech firm is preparing for an upcoming launch of its own music streaming service with an initial focus on the markets in India, Indonesia and Brazil. Rolling Stone
- Acclaimed film director Wong Kar-wai teamed up with Saint Laurent and Hong Kong-based photographer Wing Shya on the fifth installment of the luxury label’s Self project, creating a short art film that was presented in an immersive screen installation at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Hong Kong Tatler
- GroupM’s latest report reviews highlights from this year’s Singles’ Day, which included enhanced content distribution throughout the customer journey via celebrity endorsements, influencer livestreaming and user-generated media. GroupM
- Tencent and Maoyan released a joint report on China’s movie industry, following their announcement of a strategic alliance back in July. The report covers “the changing environment for the movie industry in the internet era, new online consumption trends, the industry’s upgrade and digital transformation,” among other trends. PR Newswire
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