TikTok – brands gateway to the younger target audience

TikTok – brands gateway to the younger target audience

TikTok is the popular app which lately has been filling the headlines all over the world. This popular app has 800 million active users and has been downloaded over 2 billion times on the App Store and Google Play. The likelihood that you have heard about this app is therefore very high but still many are not totally sure what it is all about. Many businesses are putting special attention to TikTok as the platform is growing very rapidly and especially popular for the target audience millennials to boomers, however, many brands still have not cracked the code on how to utilize the platform.


TikTok, also known as Douyin in China, is a video-sharing social networking service platform which create short music, lip-sync, dance, comedy and talent videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. It is easy to make videos on TikTok because it gives you extensive selections and tools from sounds, popular song slips to short moments from TV shows.


TikTok is developed and owned by the Beijing based tech company ByteDance. The app was first time launched to the market in 2016 on the Chinese market. In China, the app has a different name and called Douyin(抖音). Later in 2017, TikTok was available in most markets outside of China. It is the first Chinese owned app to reach a success among end-users on a global level. One milestone was in November 2018 when TikTok became the first China-owned app to reach No.1 in the US Apple App store and the second most downloaded app overall the same month.


On TikTok, people are free.

In China, the slogan of TikTok is “Record Beautiful Life”. Everyone can share the moment of his/her life on TikTok with the support of easy editing function, various music selection and beauty camera. No matter the content is funny, strange, or scaring, people are free to share them on TikTok and record the moment you like.


To target the Chinese customers, many brands have setup official accounts on TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin already. A wide range of different industries have established themselves from car, mobile, cosmetics to food and luxury hoping to utilize the platform to reach out to the Chinese target audience via Douyin.

Huawei is one of the brands which have official account on Douyin, and they are ranked on the top of popularity in the mobile section. The content focus on how to use their product to make videos and pictures which have received high view rate.

In the car category, Lincoln ranks top which is aligned with the brand’s new strategy to appeal to the younger generation. Lincoln has leveraged on the TV drama which they have sponsored, the content focus on reediting TV drama series which focus on the Lincoln vehicles. Other car brands like BMW and Volkswagen have done similar tactics as Lincoln on Douyin.

Cosmetic brands are also quite active on Douyin such as Lancôme, Shisedo, Estée Laude as well as Dior and YSL have joined the competition. Lancôme’s content has received a high amount of views and likes with their new brand ambassador Dongyu Zhou as well many contents from KOLs.

A key strategy for many brands has been to win over the younger generation to make the future win. This has been regarded as the bible for many brands marketing strategy these days. As TikTok is one of the top platforms for reaching this audience, TikTok has now become important marketing channel that is difficult to ignore. How to win the competition of marketing within the younger generation? As brand and marketer, we should be deep enough to think and brave enough to try.

The new era of e-commerce live streaming

The new era of e-commerce live streaming

Live streaming has been a growing trend and a more popular preference for Chinese consumers for a while now. Live streaming has been foreseen as the new upcoming era for long especially due to the continuous high online competition between the different marketplaces. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, e-commerce live steaming has quicker than ever reached a new break point. Due to the outbreak, stores have been forced to be closed and therefore businesses have had to find alternative solutions by utilizing the digital opportunities even further. During this year’s Mid-Year promotion also called 618-Shopping Festival, all marketplaces took live steaming to a total new level, both in connection with celebrity and KOL types and the quantity of live streams provided.  

Almost Everyone Joined Live Streaming

Besides the usual marketplaces like Taobao, JD.com, Pingduoduo, Kuaishou and Douyin, various platforms invested heavily in live streaming during the 618-shopping festival. The investments were not only put into the quantity of the live steams but also the quality of the live steaming hosts. Tmall invited over 300 celebrities and over 600 CEOs and top management to their live stream to promote their products such as management from brands like Huawei, Lenovo and L’Oreal.

Chinese Consumers Love Live Streaming

According to the recent research by Data100, over 66% of people have watched live streaming in the last month which made live streaming to the top five list of things to do online within the past month. The top four things to do online before live steaming are Online Shopping, Watch Short Video, Use Online Chatting APPs, and Watch Movie &TV Series. If we look at the statistic on what Chinese consumers have watched in the last three months, then over 82% of people have watched E-commerce Live Streaming.

The audience of live streaming is large and selling through live streaming is a very efficient sales method which provides high conversion rate. According to Data100, there are differences on performance from category to category but the top three categories for e-commerce live steaming conversion are food, cosmetics, and fashion. This is a clear indication that live streaming has become very successful in China and is therefore important for businesses to consider when doing business in China not only for the sales and promotion perspective but also for the branding perspective.

Still Potential to Growth

The sales data released for 618-Shopping Festival by JD.com and Taobao shows huge potential of E-commerce live steaming. Prior to the festival, JD.com was a relatively newcomer to live streaming but still had a GMV which reached CNY 10 million within 2 minutes and in cooperation with Kuaishou and brought CNY 1.42 billion sales in one day from live streaming only. JD.com total GMV during the 618-Shopping Festival was CNY 269.2 billion.

Taobao, the pioneer of e-commerce live streaming also made the new record with over 250% growth compare with last year.

Are You still Waiting?

The China digital market is more active than anywhere else in the world and changes can be expected every second. Some brands have already fully joined the battle while other brands are waiting for the right moment. With the growing importance of China globally and the rapid changing market, there is no right moment. One thing is for sure, if you plan to enter China or already in China, online presence is inevitable and necessary to succeed in the market. So, are you still waiting?

New historic online sales record set for 618

New historic online sales record set for 618

Due to the influence of Covid-19 worldwide including China, brands have focused on shifting marketing and sales activities from offline to online. In China, the 618-shopping festival was the first large scale ecommerce promotion which received high scale of attention from all levels.

Search index of the 618-shopping festival already started increasing heavily in mid-May on Baidu and reached the highest record of the last five years. On June 17th, 2020, the search index increased 95% compared to last year.

* Data from Baidu Search

The most searched key words during the shopping festival period were related to promotion discounts. Consumers searched for promotions for different platforms, such as “any promotion for 618” or “is it cheap on 618”.

Surely there have been higher attention of 618 shopping festival this year compared with previous years, especially from the marketplaces. The two largest marketplaces within e-commerce in China is JD.com and Tmall.com and both parties have put large emphasis on simulating consumers attractiveness and desire to buy under the 618-shopping festival period. At NBH, we have collected some key sales data from the two key marketplace platforms to give you an overview of their performance.


From June 1st till June 18th 2 pm, the turnover of JD.com reached CNY 239.2 billion (accordingly to JD.com)

During the 618-promotion period, JD key business category home appliances gained large growth. From the campaign start period till 18th of June 2020, a total ten third-party stores reached over CNY 100 million in sales and 1000 third-party stores reached over CNY 1 million in sales.


In the morning 19th of June 2020, Tmall release their sales figures with a total turnover of CNY 698.2 billion and Tmall reported that the turnover the first hour on the 18th of June 2020 gained over 100% growth compared with last year.

It was already highly expected that the sales 618-promotion would over exceed previous years as Tmall already before the campaign announced that this year’s 618-promotion, would provide the best promotion offers than any consumers have seen before.

During the 618-promotion period, Tmall therefore had over 150 third-party stores which reached over CNY 100 million in sales and over 120,000 third-party stores gained sales growth compared to last year.

According to Tmall, especially one product category stood out, 3C products. Apple participated in the 618-promotion for the first time and reach over CNY 500 million sales within just five hours. During the first hour of promotion on the 16th of June 2020, already 25 third-party stores within the 3C category gained ten times of sales growth compared to last year.

Different from JD.com, Tmall has reached noticeable growth for most categories and brands. In apparel category, 28 third-party stores reach equal sales to last year already within one hour. The momentum was even stronger for new brands where 66 third-party stores gained over 600% growth already 1st of June, 2020.

From the sales results from 618-shopping festival many might think that Tmall is the place to be for the Chinese ecommerce market. But the reality is that every platform including Sunning and Pingduoduo, all surpassed their own results this year. Sunning and Pingduoduo are two perfect examples of two marketplaces which are specialized in a certain categories and have shown to be an important player within their category, therefore the actual result should not just be judge purely on sales figures but also based on product category the brand belong to and thereby evaluation of suitable marketplaces for the brand.

One thing is for sure the sales success of 618-shopping festival in China does not come alone from marketplaces but instead common effort from brands, store owners and consumers. Most importantly if we look behind the impressive figures, the key is to seize the potential of online sales in China and understand the importance of innovation of technologies on the market and thereby be ready to swift your business model to adapt to the Chinese consumers.


It is an online promotion period which JD.com launched first time 15 years ago. It is an addition to double 11 which is another large online shopping festival in China which was started by Alibaba group. 618 refers to the date 18th of June and signals the largest mid-year sales. 618-shopping festival usually start in late May with presales and the promotion starts in early June until late June.

Chinese tourism industry sees signs of recovery

Chinese tourism industry sees signs of recovery

May holiday is one of the public holidays, where many Chinese usually take the chance to travel abroad or within China. Today, the Chinese population just return to work from May holiday. This holiday has been special because it is the first holiday after China gradually have started to release the permission of outing again due to Covid-19.

According to the released data from Ministry of Culture and Tourism of PRC, during the 1st -5th of May 2020, total Chinese travelers reach 115 million with CNY 47.5 billion turnover for travel industry. The figures are 47% lower in travelers and 63% lower in turnover compared to same period last year. A key reason why the turnover dropped more than the amount of travelers, were due to the fact that a change in travel format were seen, many travelers decided to take trips which distance wise were closer by and instead traveling in groups to they made use of self-driving options.  The reduction of travelers was expected however these figures gives confidence that the inbound travel market has gradually started to recover.

In China special measurements were set in place to minimize the spreading risk of Covid-19 for the large number of travelers during May Holiday. Each region and popular sightseeing place had taken various actions to split travelers into smaller groups. Key sightseen places like Forbidden city required pre-booking of tickets and made entry tickets limitations. Furthermore, Alipay verifications has been used in key cities to ensure that travelers have not been to high risk areas and temperature measurements have been taken everywhere around the country.

Function update on WeChat: optimize your visibility on WeChat

Function update on WeChat: optimize your visibility on WeChat

WeChat continuously evolves their functions on the platform, and it is important for brands to stay up to date in these changes to ensure that their presences on WeChat is optimized accordingly. In the recent public seminar WeChat presented updated functions which put quality before quantity. At NBH, we see two main WeChat updates which is important to notice from a marketing perspective.


The articles pushed from public accounts will no longer be ranked based on the publish time. The showing sequence will be random according to the update result, and the update is called “optimizing effective reading” by WeChat team. This function has just been updated recently, and people can still choose to read base on timeline as an option.

This requires brands to have even higher quality of the content instead of frequent push to get more views.


The message and comments area of public accounts is a good place for readers to communicate and express their feelings. WeChat has now updated the area to more like BBS function. Brands can reply comments and messages under this section and can select the comments to be shown. This function update has strongly improved the daily communication and interaction between account owner and readers while make the communication function of WeChat more humanized.

For brands, this sets a higher standard for account operators to keep frequent communication with followers instead of pushing message alone.

The importance of live streaming in China

The importance of live streaming in China

If you would like to ask what the most popular and trendy way of marketing and sales in China is, 99% of marketing people will tell you: “Live streaming”. So how is the live streaming market in China right now? How do you leverage the live streaming trend from a brand perspective and which platform is best for you? NBH will help you to find the answers.

According to the latest figures, the number of live streaming users reached 40 million in 2019 and it is estimated that the figure will grow to 52.4 million in 2020. This means that the live streaming market is mature enough to become one of the biggest online shopping business channels. It is also estimated that the market size of live streaming eCommerce will reach 900 billion RMB in 2020 versus 433.8 billion RMB in 2019.

Live streaming eCommerce started in 2016 with the pilot launch of Taobao.com. Now it seems to be a very old story which is only just a few years ago. Right now in China, various platforms including PingDuoDuo (eCommerce platform), the Little Red Book (Social Lifestyle sharing platform), Douyin/TikTok (live streaming platform) and also WeChat (Multifunction social communication platform) all join the battle of live streaming eCommerce. It is still too early to say who will be the winner, but different platforms are leveraging on their strengths to win the heart of users and clients.


As the earliest live streaming eCommerce platform, Taobao focusses on its user base and rich experience in the market. With its large consumer base on Taobao, it is easier to guide and close the purchase in one platform. On the other hand, due to the eCommerce platform gene, live streaming which focuses a lot on content and interaction is not the strongest part of Taobao which might make it hard to bring brand value from a marketing perspective. Also, how to allocate the traffic to traditional eCommerce shop and live streaming eCommerce gate in one site is also the problem Taobao needs to evaluate and fix.


You might not personally be using DouYin, but you must have heard the song that is actually hot on DouYin and dance routine that many youngsters and even celebrities are doing. For sure, DouYin has become one of the key sources of happiness and way of killing time for the young generation.

With its main user profile from ages 20 to29, DouYin successfully owns the heart of the new generation with plenty of interesting and trendy content.

The eCommerce on DouYin relies heavily on IP and content. With good content, IP will attract loyal followers and you need to plan the product with the IP content seamlessly to win the affections of the users. And due to the platform’s focus on providing interesting content, sales activity might also influence the user experience on the platform. How should DouYin and its IP balance this, is a question for which we cannot yet find an answer.

Being the No.1 in eCommerce and live streaming platform standing, other platforms are also trying to get into the live streaming eCommerce market such as WeChat and the Little Red Book which also have huge base of loyal active users. Whether they will become success and how they will open platform resources to support the business, we shall wait and see for this development in 2020.