William Bao Bean

WeChat has been for long the golden grail for marketing to China´s consumers. But those days are over, says innovation expert William Bao Bean, director of the Shanghai-based ChinaAccelerator to TechNode. Marketing needs more platforms than WeChat, although the Tencent tool is still an important center piece.


Born on January 21, 2011, WeChat now boasts 846 million monthly active users and is unquestionably the number one platform to consider when entering the China market. However, with slowing user growth, it is quickly becoming a red ocean with companies fighting harder to attract customers.

“WeChat used to be an easy way to acquire users. It’s now much harder to get users to follow a WeChat public account. They are overloaded with great content and spam marketing content. WeChat is maturing,” says William Bao Bean, managing director of Chinaccelerator, an accelerator based in Shanghai.

Aiming for “user acquisition cost zero,” Chinaccelerator has experimented WeChat public account as a marketing tool for its fresh born startups on Batch 10, leveraging high quality content, growth hacking, and conversion.

William was the first one to tell TechNode the phenomena of startups leveraging WeChat to slash marketing cost last year. However, more recently, he says that putting all your marketing focus on WeChat could be risky.

Instead of solely relying on WeChat, each company in Batch 10 companies used 10 to 15 different platforms, including Miaopai, Douban, and Zhihu to acquire users. Fashion e-commerce startup Fashory, from Chinaccelerator’s recent Batch 10 used 12 Chinese and international social networks, including Baidu Tieba, Keep, Momo, Facebook, and Snapchat to attract users.

“WeChat is a closed network, meaning, you need a lot of friends to effectively expose your business. However, when you see other Chinese social networks, like Douban and Zhihu, it’s open platform, and you can get instant exposure,” founder and CEO of Fashory Emmy Teo said. Fashory made 250,000 RMB (36,000 USD) in sales, with over 500 transactions in the fourth week of November.

More in TechNode.

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