Rushing back to Asia, Panelist on Chinese Social Media at G2E Macau

In china business, social media by Michael Michelini4 Comments

First blog post back on the other side of the world. Last night (wed, may 23rd local HK time) arrived to Hong Kong international airport at 10:30pm, went through HK customs, baggage claim – took the airport express to downtown Hong Kong island and met my old friend Andre Martin in a McDonalds in North Point (1am). Gave Andre a copy of the book “Startup Weekend”, he had me AUTOGRAPH it, as the “China startup weekend” rep (wow, feel honored) and spent the night over at his spare bedroom.

Woke up in a few hours (literally) and took the ferry from Sheung Wan to Macau to speak on Chinese social media at the G2E asia conference Chris Wieners from Hogo Digital invited me over for this session, it was the only session on digital media – as this conference and expo was geared towards casinos and gaming.

There were 4 of us on the panel session:

    We spoke on the following topics related to Chinese social media, as related to the Western world. Below are notes during the session and prepared research I had compiled for today’s session, will share with those interested:

    Social Media in Asia

    Q1 – What are the current social trends in Asia?
    Because China is blocking English / western social media,

    Q2 – What is unique about the social media scene in Asia, versus what we see in the Western World? Are international medias (ie Facebook and Youtube) adapting to fit the Asian consumer? Or do we see disruption from local, niche medias?

    In fact, the current baseline data and users of the social media industry growth rates in Asia are basically seconds kill the rest of the world. And I understand the situation is very encouraging: Though Facebook and Twitter are very popular, the local social media, to a large extent, leading the development of the industry. When it comes to consumer social media, many Eastern countries more focused on commercial sensitivities and concerns of social networks and frontier, and its commercial development is also to be earlier than the United States and other Western countries. In addition, it used models vary, containing no less than of political order influence of cultural background and user habits. Such as Facebook, Twitter and others to the United States – oriented social networking site has been banned in China..

    Social networks in Asia and Eastern Europe are different from those in the United States .All networks in China, micro – blogging in China, Mixi in Japan, CyWorld Korea, Odnoklassniki Russia and VKontakte Russia represent those of the country’s largest social networking site.

    Spokesman Julien Chiavassa further pointed out that, the number of Internet users in China for the past three years has increased more than the current total number of Internet users in the United States .
    Chinese are more readily in social networking activities on cooperation, rather than sharing personal information

    Q3 – How is 2012 different from 2011?
    1. Social networks are moving toward deep integration.
    2. Brand enterprises will be more actively on building their Social CRM
    3. Internet users would like package service
    Social media users will post all their problems or questions to one platform, regardless of whether it’s customer service, or pre-sale service and after sale service. Social media team will need all kinds of people, only rely on marketing, PR guys can’t meet the brand customers, potential customers’ needs.
    4. Social e – commerce will surge
    .SINA micro – blogging, social networking, naturally forming a trading center. Social e – commerce core point: purchase information is more credible when recommended by friend’s .to .balance the commercial and social media is the enterprises’ challenges.
    5. Social media budget increases
    The SNS budget will be divided into internal reforms of social media software, personnel and costs; external event planning, social media services.
    6. SNS content marketing will surge
    You can not just provide product or service information to your potential customers like what the traditional media are doing now. Content marketing is to provide excellent, valuable information to drive consumer purchase, cognitive behavior, which can better retain customers, increase brand loyalty.
    7. Combine mobile Internet and social media (Social +Mobile!)
    As the penetration of smart phones and more emphasis on immediacy, unlimited address, users can now know what is happening by phone ,it can also be done live. But only live does not work, also need to get the fans on social networking platforms involved .

    Things which company need to think about : 1. How mobile APP be more socialization and got more social features, 2. Integration of online activities O2O resonance ; 3. Mobile phone connecting link in company marketing communications.
    8. Two – dimensional QR codes, implantation of viral video, games marketing will be the innovation dark horse
    Due to limits of CCTV entertainment, Smartphone are more and more popular and other reasons, the two – dimensional QR codes, implantation of viral video, gaming innovation of marketing will be a dark horse in 2012.

    Above 8 points are come from Chinese social media expert Mr.Tang Xingdong E-mail :, @唐兴通)
    Q4 – How about social media in China? What makes this market so unique with regards to social media?
    4.1 SNS in China
    • 1994—– Online forums and communities
    • 1999—– Instant messaging
    • 2003—– User review sites such as Dianping emerged
    • 2004—- Blogging
    • 2005— Social-networking sites with chatting capabilities such as Renren.
    • 2009— Sina Weibo launched, offering microblogging with multimedia
    • 2010—- Location-based player Jiepang appeared, offering sevices similar to foursquare’s.

    4.2 Chinese Market is Unique

    “Companies in Asia are approaching Western levels of adoption but there’s a long way to go when it comes to community engagement in cultures where “face” remains more important than Facebook,” explains Bob Pickard, President and CEO of Burson Marsteller in Asia-Pacific.( Burson Marsteller – a public relations firm )

    • Consumers
    1) More active
    2) Use of mobile technologies
    3) Skeptical of formal institutions and authority, relied on recommendations from friends and family
    • Content
    1) Artificial writers , positive content /negative news/to manage social-media crises
    • Platforms
    1) Fragmented and local, each social-media and e-commerce platform has at least two major local players / for example, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo
    • —à These information are sourced from Cindy Chiu is a consultant in McKinsey’s Shanghai office, Understanding social media in China

    Chinese SNS Users >300 million people
    • Surveying the scene
    • 1) The world’s biggest Internet user base—513 million people, more than double the 245 million users in the United States1
    • —– figures are sourced from Internet World Stats data, as of December 2011 (US figures from March 2011).
    • 2) China also has the world’s most active environment for social media. More than 300 million people use it, from blogs to social-networking sites to microblogs and other online communities.2 That’s roughly equivalent to the combined population of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In addition, China’s online users spend more than 40 percent of their time online on social media, a figure that continues to rise rapidly.
    ——- A McKinsey survey on Chinese consumers, China’s social-media boom . 2012

    Social Strategy

    Q1 – What are some of the key components of a good social media campaign in Asia/China?

    All throughout its social marketing initiatives, 3M emphasizes four steps: listening, engaging, measuring, and optimizing campaigns and products.
    (3M, the maker of Scotch-Brite household cleaning products and Post-it Notes, has 11 brands in Asia Pacific)

    Social Media World Forum Asia Wrap Up
    by JASON LIM on September 5, 2011

    Knowing your target market
    Measure your social media influence
    Social Media is for the Long Run
    Turn on your social media radar
    Use clear, consistent and engaging messaging
    Examining the Social Shopper

    Below are details :
    Knowing your target market
    Businesses and organizations using social media to connect with their customers must know what their customer dynamics in the multi-faceted world of social media, be it Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Weibo, QQ etc. This is especially important for organizations with an international presence, because each country has a distinct culture, and also a distinct social media culture. For example, Indonesians may use Facebook on a much higher frequency than Thais, and Filipinos may be hardcore Youtube fans. Such information is crucial for a company when planning, thus putting in the effort to research on various trends in different countries will definitely help in the effectiveness and efficiency or implementing a social media strategy in them.
    Measure your social media influence
    Brands need to be involved in social media because it is the new mass media. Understand, engage, respond, it is as simply as that. As an earned media, social media could be more effective as compared to paid media or owned media in increasing revenue if utilized correctly.
    That being said, companies must note that social media is not as basic as simply increasing your fan base. In fact, the number of Facebook ‘likes’ may not be reflective of a business’ financial performance, thus that should not be the main objective. At the same time, there must be other measures a company should take when they are involved in social media marketing, like impressions, buzz metrics, average time spent, click through rate to website etc. Companies also need to note that measures should be both quantitative (number of comments) and qualitative (quality of comments or sentiments).
    Besides that, training employees on social media is very important. The saying that “all employees are a walking advertisement” has indeed become much more apt with the rise of social media, because anything and everything one says on the Internet is very much traceable these days. You may be posting something on your wall, which may be indirectly putting the company you work for in bad light, and you’ll never know how it may possibly influence the decision making process of current customers, retailers, manufacturers and more.
    Social Media is for the Long Run
    Social media is definitely not a blind dash, but instead somewhat like a marathon, thus having a sound strategy for it is of utmost importance. However, having a Facebook or Twitter page is not a social media strategy! It has to start with having a validated consumer insight, by doing proper in depth research on your target market, before a company decides if social media is the right way to go, and how its tactics for social media if that is the direction it is taking. That being said, a company should always start media neutral and take an objective stand. Seriously, a fertilizer company whose main clients are farms really don’t need a Facebook page, does it? Also, social media is definitely not a “standalone” entity. And as much hype it is getting at present, it is not taking over traditional media anytime soon. Thus, social media has to be integrated in a company’s overall marketing strategy, and has to be well thought through. Having the right marketing mix by combining online and offline marketing strategies will definitely translate to significant returns on your investments.
    Turn on your social media radar
    Yes, social media has indeed transformed communication in this conversation economy we are living in. LinkedIn Asia Pacific’s Managing Director Arvind Rajan said that companies now should first create a presence in social media, before attracting customers using certain acquisition methods like sweepstakes, lucky draws, then constantly engage their audience in meaningful conversations before they thrive. Of course, this four-step way of social media communication (interaction, participation, conversation, affinity) takes time and each step should be thoroughly planned and not rushed.
    At the same time, brands should have some sort of online “radar” to understand the types of conversations that are going on about the brand and where these conversations are coming from. This is because with social media, communication has become much more diversified. Customers could be blogging about the brand, discussing it over forums, tweets, Facebook posts, Youtube videos etc. Thus brands have to be very alert and pick up this valuable information and address certain concerns where applicable.
    Use clear, consistent and engaging messaging
    Combining online and offline methods to build brand loyalty should be the way to go. Companies must take ownership of their social media engagement, because social media can indeed make or break a company’s reputation depending on how it is used, especially when something negative happens, like in the case of Nestle and Greenpeace. For many successful MNCs, cross functional teams are formed which includes the heads of departments as well to be part of the social media editorial board, to ensure that the content that goes up to social networking sites are well thought of, relevant, consistent and engaging. Of course, global best practices and guidelines are set as well, because social media is definitely not a one-size-fits-all concept, and strategies can and should be distinctly different for individual countries or cultures, keeping in mind the “Brand Voice” or what the brand represents is the underlying message that is brought across ultimately.
    Examining the Social Shopper
    Indeed, social shopping has been in trend recently with the outburst of group-buying websites. Tapping on the herd mentality, these sites are creating a phenomenon that have seen sales grow exponentially for some of the websites, like and Groupon, and make other traditional companies look towards these sites too, as seen by the recent acquisition of by NTUC Link for an undisclosed sum. Much of this success has to be attributed to social media, and how these sites have successfully used social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to constantly engage their audience, whether by lucky draws, contests, feedbacks & surveys, to slowly but surely build up some form of brand loyalty. Looking forward, CEO Patrick Lindon says that there’s currently no sign of deal fatigue in this industry and he sees this trend going on for at least the next year or so. Why so you may ask? Because of the rise in social media, and the fact that incumbents and new entrants will continuously change their models to provide more value to the customer, whether it is coming up with location based services, introducing new concepts revolving around deals or even integrating everything into a mobile application for an all-in-one experience. So for those out there who are regular social shoppers, keep your eyes peeled for developments that will be rolled out in the next 6 months to 1 year!

    In conclusion, no one can deny that social media has become an integral part of our personal lives, as well as in the economy. Businesses and organizations have to embrace social media and note that it is not a one-off tactic, but instead, something that is part of every day operations. Being a double-edged sword, businesses then have to be very careful when tapping on social media, and much emphasis has to be placed on training, familiarizing, planning and executing any social media strategy to ensure sustainable success in the long run.

    Q2 – Who are some of the key players with regards to social networks and social media in Asia?
    Kaifu Lee

    Q3 – Who are some of the players who are seeing great success today in social marketing throughout Asia? How about in China?

    1) 3M, the maker of Scotch-Brite household cleaning products and Post-it Notes, has 11 brands in Asia Pacific
    2) Big on Facebook
    The social strategy at, a travel search engine specializing in the Asian market, has three dimensions: community management, social advertising, and social integration, said Menchaca, who oversees performance marketing and social media for the company.
    3) Fairmont Singapore: Know Yourself, Know Your Audience
    Marketers must ask themselves the following questions before plunging into social media, said Nicholas Tay, digital marketing manager at Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford, two hotels in Singapore.
    4) AirAsia – In China.

    Mobile Gaming

    Q1 – Can you all explain what’s happening with regards to mobile gaming in Asia? In China?

    To give some comparison, Facebook just announced it is seeing 60 million usersinteracting with its apps each month, leaving Tencent’s figures to show just how developed China’s Web space is. Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo both have integrated games services and, with mobile a key Internet access point for many in China and Asia, a mobile games platform has the potential to succeed there.
    Japanese firms DeNA and GREE have both taken huge strides with their mobile social gaming platforms. The firms are currently involved in a legal tangle but have been working to extend the range of their service worldwide, and both are active in China.

    Mobile gaming is enjoying solid growth in terms of revenue and market share. It is estimated to hit $54 Billion global market value by 2015. The Asian region leads the mobile gaming market with approximately 40% market stake. The greater Asia Pacific region as well as emerging markets such as the Middle East are also high growth areas.
    Handset Manufacturers:
    Nokia, Apple, Motorola, Microsoft, RIM, Fujitsu-Toshiba, Kyocera, NEC, Casio, Panasonic, Sharp, HTC, LG Electronics, Huawei, Samsung, ZTE, Motorola, Sony Ericsson , Pantech Curitel, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Philips, Sagem
    Other Companies/Organizations:
    Acer, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Foxconn , Google, yahoo, Adobe, metroPCS, Cricket Wireless, INQ Mobile, skype, Linux Foundation, NEC, PANASONIC, Intel, Foursquare, Facebook, Yelp, Beiduo, Dianping, European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), GSM association, ITU, Maestro, Solo, MasterCard, Visa Electron, Neteller, Entropay, Ukash, Cisco,, Gowalla, Sony, Nintendo, BMW, Telefonica, Amazon, MegaFon, Alcatel, BenQ, Fly, Mobile Communications Company of Iran (MCI), Princeton University

    In China
    China’s mobile gaming revenue is expected to grow at 51.5% CAGR between 2009 and 2014, reaching $2.5 billion despite current market barriers, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.
    Mobile game meeting in June 2012 , Shanghai China.

    Q2 – What is the ROI one can expect from a good mobile gaming campaign? Do you consider mobile gaming to be a good potential for building brand awareness?

    Q3 – Can you share a case study or example of a successful mobile gaming campaign or platform?

    Tencent’s mobile gaming platform hits 200 million registered users
    Tencent this week revealed some impressive statistics around the success of its mobile gaming platform, Mobile QQ Game Hall, which has surpassed 200 million registered users.
    According to a report from Marbridge Consulting which cites a Chinese news report, Tencent is seeing 13 million users on the platform every day, with usage peaking at more than 1 million concurrent gamers in the games platform.

    Q4 – How can casinos leverage this type of technology to further develop their brand here in Asia?
    Build your SNS platforms and make good use of it.
    Knowing your target market
    Measure your social media influence
    Social Media is for the Long Run
    Turn on your social media radar
    Use clear, consistent and engaging messaging
    Examining the Social Shopper

    Social Media and Gaming

    Q1 – What opportunities exist for casinos and gaming organizations in the social media world?
    Build your brand awareness and talk to your customers or potential customers directly.

    Q2 – How can casinos leverage their non-gaming content in China, where gaming promotion is illegal and can result in blocking of the brand?

    Cooperate with local counterparts and consulting companies, do marketing research.

    Q3 – How about loyalty programs? Do you see an opportunity to utilize digital media (including social) to promote and further develop a casino loyalty program?
    Give customer good services, online and offline

    Q4 – Can you give the audience an example of a low-cost, high-impact social activity (related to gaming)?
    Kai xin games or QQ farm

    Q5 – One final piece of advice with regards to building a social media strategy?
    Knowing your target market
    Measure your social media influence
    Social Media is for the Long Run
    Turn on your social media radar
    Use clear, consistent and engaging messaging
    Examining the Social Shopper

    I had to re-schedule my USA trip for this conference, but it was well worth it. Got to meet all kinds of great casino professionals from all over the world. It is clear, Americans and western casinos have to invest the majority of their efforts in Macau and asia.

    The world is changing fast. I also mentioned that Sina weibo has very high net worth individuals using it, more than I notice in Twitter. Maybe its because its easier to use and Chinese are also more accustomed to QQ and online chat – whereas older Americans feel its for kids.

    Many of the people I talked to say Macau is the only casino property that is growing – those in the western world are steady or even declining.

    I feel perfectly positioned to help Western companies with their Chinese social media – I love social media, have been doing business in China for many years, and am building a great community and team around me.

    Time to get over this jet lag!

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    1. I finally figured it out, you’re a photo-op queen.

    2. Looks like you’re in a suit and tie more and more!

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