Look who is copying who now!

Look who is copying who now!

For years China was known as the copy cat central in the world. No sooner had a factory made a production line for some European brand did it appear in store in China. Visitors to China would see not just market stalls selling knockoff GUCCI but in fact stores located on central streets with the name GUCHI. In fact in Shanghai there was even a STARBOCKS positioned a few stores away from a real STARBUCKS.

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When it comes to the internet there was no difference to the copy cat approach. One just needs to logon onto Baidu to see its similarity to Google and many other examples.

Yet when it comes to social media despite the west starting decades earlier it appears we got left behind China both in terms of both creativity as well as monetizing the audience.

In the absence of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others the Chinese company Tencent established Wechat as the answer. Often described as an amalgamation of all 3, Wechat now has 1.1 billion members with 818 million of them active and 570 million active daily!

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The numbers are huge and set to increase by 60% between now and 2020. But its not just the numbers that have the west sitting upright in their chairs it is more the ability to generate revenue beyond advertising that has peeked the interest of the likes of Facebook and Whatsapp.

In 2011, way ahead of the west Wechat launched Wechat commerce which allowed business to open e-stores on the mobile messaging app. Wechat now boosts more than 300,000 shop fronts and an amazing 200 million people in China have stored their credit cards on Wechat for quick purchase.

It appears that the west is finally beginning to wake up and this time by copying the Chinese. Whether it is Snapchat’s stories, Facebook’s marketplace or whatsapp’s news/about feed this time they all seem to be ‘inspired’ by Wechat!


Jody Jacobs is CEO of Brand Avenue Ltd.

Over the 3 years Brand Avenue has had an office in China enabling us to work with, support and advise British and European brands on exporting to China. Brand Avenue holds major existing accounts with some of the biggest cross-border platforms in China. Brand Avenue is the distributor for many Jewellery, Cosmetics and Mother & Baby products in China.

  • Posted by Jody Jacobs
  • On December 3, 2016
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