Everyone is aware of the vast number of “netizens” in China which has grown to almost 300 million Internet users. However, a significant portion of these individuals are connected via their mobile phones. Behind the Great “Fire” Wall, this vibrant community has grown significantly and utilize their mobile phones to stay connected to their peers and engage social media.
In a report released today by the Ministry of Industry and Information and Technology, they claim phone users in China have surpassed the one billion mark at the end of June. Of these one billion phone users, 155 million have access to the Internet through their mobile phones which is an increase of 32.1% since 2008. This increase has been contributed to the launch of the third-generation (3G) network. The 3G network allows mobile phone users to download data faster, make video calls and watch TV programming.
This group of mobile netizens are primarily comprised of the “mostly curious 20-something” crowd known as the “Post-80s”. This outspoken generation grew up with some affluence as China began emerging as a country and are perceived as spoiled and outspoken. This group of mostly urbanites were born of the one-child per household social policy in China during the 1980s are a marketer’s dream! There are nearly 200 million people who are actively engaged online for entertainment using their mobile phones to access sites for email, games, music, and videos.
Last year, PUMA targeted this market by launching a program around the Shanghai Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday. The campaign utilized the existing global mobile platform by launching a mobile Internet site featuring PUMA’s ‘F Wan’ (Wan in Chinese means ‘play’). The site offered interactive activities as well as being able to connect them to store locations:
It offers mobile users the chance to play an F1 battle car racing game that can be downloaded from the mobile site. Phonevalley has also created a build-a-points system to encourage gameplay and viral activity: players who submit their scores by SMS or who forward the games to friends will earn new points. Every week, the top three players will be rewarded with PUMA F1-branded merchandise.
The mobile site also has a store locator function, with details of in-store promotions, and PUMA F1-branded screensavers and wallpapers. Other marketers can learn from Puma by staging things around existing events that already resonate with the Chinese audience. Secondly, partnering with the leading mobile networks. Puma sought a relationship with QQ, the most popular free instant message and mobile gaming platform in China. Moreover, they encouraged a progression with users by encouraging them to “submit their scores by SMS back to the Puma website” to obtain merchandise and participating in competition among your peers.
Other brands like Coke and China Merchant Banks understands this concept of hitting the post 80s market with their targeted campaign with “World of Warcraft” and “Hello Kitty” msn campaings. The continuous engagement and interaction is critical for marketers to resonate with the fickle, post-80s mobile netizen Chinese market.