Daily Digital Pulse of China: China Unicom, Weibo & Weixin
China Unicom’s New Subscription Plan
China Unicom has recently released their new subscription plan for those who use WeChat. The new SIM card enables WeChat users to be able to access the app even if they are not on a full 3G subscription plan. It seems as this strategy is working out seeing that the amount of customers have already passed the one million mark, according to China Unicom. This particular plan’s idea came from Unicom’s Guandong subsidiary, which means that this plan will not be available to every store nationwide. However, if their customer base continues to grow at the current rate, it will only be a matter that this plan will be heavily marketed nationwide and thus be available to the masses. It is unclear whether Unicom’s new plan will be able to ease the challenges with regards to OTT apps. The current rates for the new plans range from $5/ month to over $20/month. This makes it difficult to calculate the revenue from their new million subscribers, or how much of that money goes to Tencent. The competition is now loading up with Feixin for China Mobile and Yixin for China Telecom (similar version of WeChat). If China Unicom’s new plan continues to grow in members it will be interesting to watch China Mobile and Telecom’s next move, one might bet that they will consider becoming a partner with Tencent.
Source: Tech In Asia
Smoothness of Weibo and Swiftness of Weixin
Sina’s Weibo have been in competition with Tencent’s Weixin in terms of market share. However both companies have grew to fill very different user niches. During last week’s court proceedings regarding politician Bo Xilai, we were able to see the difference between China’s top two social media services. The proceedings of the trial were broadcasted in bits and pieces over Weibo an equivalent of Twitter. Observers debated on issues in regards to court proceedings passionately. The service itself has accumulated a massive 500 million registered users since their launch date back in 2009 and has been a popular place for people to express their stances on issues and by is known to be the place to tune in to public figures remarks on issues. Weixin on the other hand takes a different approach in user operations, following a style much more similar to facebook it allows the user to get more intimate with being able to share texts, images and also little voice messages . One awesome thing about Weibo is how fast the service works. “At a wedding this July in Zhangjiakou, a midsize city in northern Hebei province, guests waved smartphones to take photos of the bride and groom — and several photos appeared on Weixin before the ceremony was even over.” Wow Both Weibo and Weixin have their advantages in the current market. If you want to tune in to the Chinese public opinion on news in China go with Weibo. Weixin is coming up in ranks with about 100 million registered users outside in China using WeChat, it is very possible to see Weixin taping into the market of Viral marketing and Professional networking.
Sina Weibo’s Monetization Finally Propels Forward
To the relief of many an investor, Sina Weibo has finally begun to monetize. There are various sources of revenue, including display ads, sponsored posts, premium membership, and third party games. In 2012, Sina Weibo’s total revenue was $66 million, with 77% of that coming from display ads. Advertising consists of sponsored Weibo posts being interspersed throughout users’ news feeds. Another contributor to revenues is the e-commerce activity that has taken place on Weibo. In 2012, Xiaomi phones were sold directly on the Weibo site, as well as other goods via a flash sale site. In 2013, Alibaba acquired partial stake in Sina Weibo, after pledging to bring in $380 million in the next three years. Weibo soon began displaying ads from Alimama and was later integrated into Taobao. Mobile devices also play a major part in Weibo’s revenues A third of ad revenues come from mobile ads and three-quarters of the total amount of visitors access the site with their mobile phones. Weibo also developed Page, which is a self-service system that advertisers can use to post ads to Weibo, bringing in more ad inventory to the site.