China’s Internet Usage Back to Pre-COVID levels (& 3 other news)

Thomas Graziani New WeChat features

Today we share 4 news from the Chinese digital space, from the impact of COVID to WeChat Mini-programs.

China’s Internet Usage Back to Pre-COVID levels

According to a report by QuestMobile, daily time spent by Chinese users is back to its pre-COVID level.

Internet usage boomed during the pandemic, jumping from 6.0 hours per day in December 2019 to 7.3 hours per day in March 2020.

It is however now back to its previous level, decreasing from 7.3 hours per day to 6.1 hours per day by June 2020.

This is a very encouraging statistic for the Chinese economy. This decrease in online presence shows the extent to which Chinese customers returned to offline activities, after staying home during the lockdown.

Tencent is losing further momentum against ByteDance

Since the launch of Toutiao and Douyin, Tencent has been waging a ruthless war against ByteDance.

The parent company of WeChat seems to be losing the war. Over the last year, Tencent’s “market share” of users time decreased by 4.3 points, while ByteDance and Kuaishou grew by respectively 3.3 and 2.7 points during the same period.

With the failed launch of WeChat Short Videos, Tencent is now fighting an uphill battle against the leading short video platforms.

WeChat Mini-programs users reach 440 million

Tencent might be losing the content battle, but it’s winning the ecosystem war.

The number of daily WeChat Mini-program users boomed to 440 million by the end of June 2020: a 33% increase solely during the first half of the year!

Although users are spending more time on Douyin and Kuaishou, WeChat ecosystem of services and e-commerce is getting stronger and stronger.

WeChat search now enables claiming coupons

Merchants can now offer WeChat coupons via WeChat search. This is another effort for WeChat to drive more e-commerce purchases, competing against Alibaba.

The coupons appear when looking for specific brand keywords (ex: Starbucks – 星巴克) and then lead users to a WeChat Mini-program to complete their order.

Unlike Taobao, WeChat is however not a search-driven ecosystem. It is therefore questionable whether such coupons will have a real impact on end-users purchases.

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