China head bowing group

Data bomb: what are the Chinese doing online?

With an explosion of technology adoption and investments, China’s global internet leadership continues. Why follow the Chinese? It all comes down to our approach to crafting a global integrated marketing strategy for our clients. Our clients do business all over the globe, not just in the US. We like to stay on top of internet trends all over the globe – including China.

Based on our research, we’ve uncovered eight internet activities the Chinese are most focused on:

1. The head-bowing-group

By June 2016, there were over 710 million internet users in China, 20 million more than 5 years ago. Of the 710 million internet users, 92.5% of them are mobile web users, and 173 million of them only use mobile phones to access the internet. The term “head-bowing-group,” or cellphone over-users, has become a norm in today’s Chinese society.

2. Video watching

China has 514 million video site users and 440 million of them use mobile devices to watch videos. In a world where YouTube is blocked by the Chinese firewall, major Chinese video sites like Youku, Tudou, Tencent Video and IQiYi are growing rapidly under various complex business models.

3. Online payment

There were 455 million Chinese internet users performing online payments by mid 2016, accounting a growth rate of 9.3% in the past 6 months. Thanks to applications like Alipay and Wechat Pay, China has 424 million mobile online payment users. One can easily function without any cash or credit card in a city on a regular day.

4. Shopping, shopping, shopping

The fast growth of China’s online shopping market has not stopped. There are 448 million shoppers who are purchasing online and 401 million of them are mobile users. Major Chinese e-commerce sites have established their own “online shopping festivals” through the year. Take Alibaba’s “Double 11” on November 11th, for example. Tmall and Taobao (both in the Alibaba group) achieved an overall sales volume of US $9.3 billion in 2014, and over US $14.3 billion in 2015.

5. Games

In China, there are a bit over half of the internet users playing games online and the number is still growing. With the huge market potential, various international players are also working hard to get a slice of the cake.

6. Traveling

Online travel agencies, or OTA, have become very important for the growing travelers in China. There were 264 million people who booked flights, hotels, train tickets or bought other travel products online in June 2016. This is over 4 million more than the end of 2015. 232 million of these people are using the mobile platform to purchase these products and services.

7. Eating

Online food delivery and finance-managing are two of the fastest growing fields in 2016. By June, over 150 million people used online ordering service and 146 million of them used mobile application to do this. Compared to 2015, the growth rate is 40.5%.

8. Finance-managing

By June 2016, there are 101 million users who used online tools to manage their finance. This is over 11 million more than the end of 2015. As the regulation and legislation catches up, the market is gradually entering into a more mature stage.

With increased research and development funding, government investments and a tech-savvy population, China has established a new technology-driven ecosystem. The country has created innovation powerhouses in e-commerce, messaging, travel, financial services and on-demand transportation. Who knows what’s next? Be sure to follow along as we look to China and learn more about the country’s internet leadership.

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