Matthew Brennan is a speaker and writer focusing on Chinese mobile technology and innovation. In particular, he’s known for analysis of Tencent, China’s largest tech giant and WeChat, China’s famous super app. His opinions are regularly featured in global media. He delivers presentations for executive teams seeking to gain insight into Chinese tech innovation. Our managing director and founder Heidrun Haug had the possibitlity to ask Matthew some questions regarding the development and importance of WeChat in China and how that impacts marketing to Chinese tourists in Germany.
Heidrun Haug: Your book about WeChat is coming soon. When and how can Germans get it (Amazon, bookshops…)
Matthew Brennan: It will be available on Amazon towards the end of Q1 2019 fingers crossed. “The Story of WeChat” will cover the journey of the platform from its inception to where we are today with over 1 billion users.
HH: Which are the most important trends for using WeChat for business reasons, e.g. for a German retailer to reach Chinese buyers?
MB: To German retailers, WeChat represents an online gateway to reach Chinese consumers. That could be through simply accepting WeChat Pay offline if you are a business that is looking to gain more spend from mainland outbound tourists. Or it could be through pure online promotion of your brand through a WeChat official account, mini program and Tencent’s social ads network. Or both.
HH: How can a company avoid bad experiences by investing in WeChat / in the huge e-market China? Is WeChat still a must for digital marketing?
MB: Digital marketing in China through any channel is not easy, WeChat is no exception. The market is hyper competitive and moves extremely fast. It requires time, patience and a good local Chinese team to get results.
Tencent is the biggest player in China’s online market in terms of mindshare and attention, so it’s difficult to ignore. WeChat also benefits from having the largest and most sophisticated ecosystem of 3rd party platform tools and agencies that can help Western brands get results.
HH: Which are your questions to Tencent concerning the future of WeChat?
MB: How will WeChat look to further embrace AI technologies? The WeChat team as an AI division, one of 3 separate AI teams across Tencent. It’s clear they are working on some interesting new features that could be important in the future.
What’s the next steps forward for mini programs? They’ve gained mainstream adoption across China and we see all the other internet players moving in now. What’s next to increase the value that mini programs can bring to businesses and users?