Chinese-based online social media platform parent Tencent has opened a Singapore office to help drive Asian brands improve their reach to Chinese consumers.
Tencent, which owns the WeChat messaging and browsing platform, has created an International Business Group charged with raising awareness of the opportunities offered by WeChat, especially targeting people who live outside China.
While WeChat is as mainstream in the mainland as facebook is outside China, its takeup across the rest of Asia is limited. The new Tencent Singapore team believes there are huge opportunities marketing to Chinese when they are travelling outside their home country.
A growing number of luxury brands are establishing a presence on Wechat – Gucci even sells handbags worth several thousand US dollars on the platform, and BMW reaches out to prospective customers. Other consumer retailers like Hong Kong’s Sa Sa have developed extensive interactive eCommerce platforms which work across channel and drive customers in-store.
Benny Ho, senior director of business development at Tencent, told The Drum that inbound marketing is a big opportunity in Singapore, especially.
“These tourists are setting their own itinerary and they know precisely what store to buy from and in what colour before they arrive; they come to buy, not to shop. This means you need to build all the brand consideration and purchase intent way before they arrive and that is part of the core service we are trying to offer,” he said.
WeChat alone has just over 800 million monthly active users.
“That’s a huge number,” said Ho. “Every market we go to, we educate the market and tell them the numbers and it’s mind blowing. Our role is to make something that big [more] understandable.”