WeChat creating Chinese business for Aussie brands

China’s largest social media platform, WeChat (called Weixin in China), has gone mainstream in Australia and is creating significant opportunities for Australian businesses.

WeChat was initially embraced by Australia’s large Chinese community as a tool to communicate and stay connected with friends and family back in China, however, many local Chinese are now also using the platform to purchase goods and services. This is providing savvy Australian businesses with the capacity to utilise WeChat to engage with Chinese consumers.

According to Dr Mathew McDougall, the founder of DaigouSales.com, a WeChat eMarketplace, “WeChat has over 963 million monthly active users, with about three million WeChat users living in Australia.

“For brands looking to engage with Chinese consumers there is no better platform to leverage than WeChat. Our platform allows Australian brands to sell directly into China via locally based Chinese WeChat users who buy on behalf of their friends and relatives back in China, handling the eStore management and cross-border shipping so Australian businesses can concentrate on creating great products”.

The Australian Chinese community is diverse and encompasses a wide range of constituents; students, new immigrants and Chinese tourists. Moreover, within this group many have been asked by friends and family back in China to purchase Australian goods on their behalf and send these back to China. These buyers are known as “daigou”.

“Given the status of Australia as being clean, green and safe, many Chinese are opting to source goods from our market. In a study conducted by the Hurun Report and the Shenzhen Catic Wellness Group, it was found that on average Chinese mainlanders are spending a quarter of the family’s monthly budget on health care products alone,” Dr McDougall said.

“This is not to mention mainland Chinese looking to buy an increasing wider variety of products. Over the past few years we have seen daigou focus on infant formula, vitamins and supplements but in 2017 we increasingly saw daigou looking to source products such as clothing, essential oils, uniquely Australian skin care and cosmetics to jewellery.

“According to research we conducted in 2017, the daigou community is mostly made up of females aged between 30 and 39, which is closely followed by the 20 to 29 age bracket. They purchase and ship products from Australia on behalf of their personal contacts back in mainland China. We found in our survey the most crucial points of trade considered are the quality of the products, the price, followed by the brand awareness.

“The Australian daigou community is a billion dollar market and growing for Australian businesses,“ added Dr McDougall. “At the end of the day, it is important to create and nurture the daigou channel.  Daigou respond positively to being treated with respect and appreciate brands wanting to work constructively with them.”

“The brands that I see coming through DaigouSales.com and are successful are the ones that have taken a reasonable, measured approach with a long-term outlook. These are the attributes that will serve the businesses well as they develop their long-term China export strategy.

“Businesses need to be able to offer their product in a way that the daigou community will value. Demonstrating your expertise and the importance of the product will help connect the business and daigou.

“The key success lies in being clear about your objectives, creating memorable content and promoting it intelligently,” Dr Dr McDougall concluded.

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