China’s internet is dominated by a handful of tech giants which have traditionally blocked each other’s links on their platforms. Tmall, JD, Douyin, Xiaohongshu, Kuaishou… the list goes on. None of them allow users in China to access each other’s content and services from within their apps.
This week, however, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) told tech companies to end the long-standing practice of blocking each other’s links on their sites.
This is major news for China’s tech giants, but what does it mean for the e-commerce brands operating on these platforms? And for those eying up a China market entry? We put the question to our China marketing team.
Here’s what they said…
Hilary Li, VP of Digital Marketing
It’s really great news for China marketing, especially for social media marketing.
It ultimately means we will now be able to drive traffic directly from social platforms to e-commerce platforms. So expect social to start playing an even greater role for brands in China.
Jenny Zhao, Marketing Manager
It’s big news! It means sharing links and content is going to be a lot easier – and that’s a major positive for brands.
If we can start sharing shoppable livestreams from platforms like Taobao directly on WeChat, for instance, then I think it’s really going to boost viewing numbers and conversion rates.
Summer Zhou, Marketing Manager
The reason platforms block each other’s links is because they want their own closed-loop ecosystems. However, that’s no longer going to be viable now.
I think as this gets implemented, brands will start adapting. More integration could see e-commerce platforms become even more dynamic.
Yico Wang, Marketing Manager
If social platforms cannot block competitors’ e-commerce promotions, this may oversaturate social channels with advertisements and impact consumer experiences.
Therefore, advertising regulations may become stricter as the whole ecosystem goes through an adjustment period. As this happens, the price of advertising on social media may increase. Ultimately, the most effective way to keep consumer’s attention will still be driven by content quality.
Charles Lavoie, Director of WPIC Creative Labs
It’s definitely major news and it’s going to mean a number of things for brands in China, including:
(1/5) More social commerce
Social commerce in China has really accelerated over the past few years, but this should make it possible to more accurately compare the ROAS on social platforms versus the ROAS on e-commerce platforms – helping brands make better decisions about where to focus their efforts and spend.
(2/5) More pressure on content creators (KOLs/KOCs)
Brands are now going to be able to track conversion rates from influencer content, so that’s going to put more pressure on content creators. We’ll likely see higher KPIs with a greater blend of metrics — awareness, engagement, and sales.
(3/5) Stronger platform integration means a stronger need for focus
As platforms and user journeys become more integrated, content focus and messaging consistency will become increasingly important. Delivering a unified experience across platforms, with simple and effective messaging, will be key to ensuring consumers stop scrolling and click.
(4/5) Rising ad costs
As demand for ad space on social media rises and conversion rates become more transparent, we should see a short-term increase in the cost of advertising on key social platforms.
As this happens, brands will seek to have even more engaging content to take full advantage of every opportunity to interact with consumers.
(5/5) Content is still king
That’s not going to change here. All brands will have access to the same playing field, so the key differentiating factors will remain in product and content quality.
And when it comes to the tech giants, the platforms that are able to deliver the highest content quality and user experience will be the big winners.
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