Lucy MacDonald Connolly & Xinying Lin
- Jay Chou, one of China’s biggest stars is bringing his world tour to Australia this November
- The concert will attract Chinese Australian fans in the masses making it the perfect opportunity to market directly to this unique demographic
Mando-pop legend Jay Chou in bringing his world tour to Australia in an event that will celebrate 20 years of his incredible music career. His eighth concert world tour, Jay Chou Carnival World Tour, will arrive in Sydney on 14 March 2020 at Giants Stadium. As one of China’s biggest stars, the event will attract thousands of eager Chinese Australians, presenting brands with a unique opportunity to market towards this demographic.
With more than 150 songs, 14 albums and seven sold-out world tours under his belt, it is no wonder he has been crowned as the King of Mando-pop. Winning over 450 music awards since 2001, Jay Chou has never struggled to remain relevant. His fan base has remained loyal throughout his long career, ranking number one at the box office in China in 2018 as well as becoming the first singer whose songs have been played more than 10 billion times on QQ music player in the same year. He has not only made countless contributions to China’s music industry but has also branched out into film, adding eight film awards to his impressive repertoire. His music style combines classical, hip – hop, and R & B attracting a huge fan-base who appreciate a range of music genres.
Such a loved superstar coming to Australia can allow brands to market specifically towards Chinese Australians, especially high spending millennials. The 2016 Census found Australia is home to more than 1.2 million people of Chinese ancestry, and ABC reports that 25% of Australia’s student population are Chinese. There is clearly a large community of Chinese people living in Australia yet brands rarely market directly towards them. Capturing the attention of the Chinese population in Australia can greatly expand brands base of prospective customers as well as create brand awareness in China, the second-largest economy in the world according to World Bank.
Sponsorship of Jay Chou’s Australian tour can allow businesses to directly target this demographic, creating a trust for their brand by Chinese communities in Australia. This is particularly useful when targeting Chinese international students who are unfamiliar with Australian brands.
Lucy MacDonald Connolly
- Australian wine exports to China generated $1.2 billion in 2019
- Female wine drinkers double China’s imported wine drinking population, creating demand for foreign wine
- Australian businesses utilise wine KOLs with a female fan base to lure potential Chinese buyers
Australia is officially the number one imported wine to mainland China. According to Wine Australia, 2019 marked a financial year record in Australian wine exports to China reaching $1.2 billion AUD. Australia has the rise of imported wine drinkers in China to thank for this staggering growth, with female millennials leading the change. As Julius Bear Bank predicts that China will become the second-largest wine market in the world by 2020, wine brands around the world seek new ways to access this increasingly important market through appealing to young, female wine drinkers.
China’s rise in imported wine drinkers
Research from Wine Intelligence shows that there are roughly 38 million imported wine drinkers in China as of 2019, a population that has doubled since 2012. The rise of young, millennial wine drinkers, who are more likely to explore different wine brands from different regions around the world, has been a major factor towards this growth. Millennial women, in particular, have led the change as they are more likely to consider fruitier wines, providing more variety in a previously Bordeaux-styled wine dominated market. According to China Wine Competition, the perceived health benefits of wine rank as the main attribute of wine for Chinese women. The growth in female wine drinkers has also been due to Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) that produce wine-related content on Chinese social media, particularly on Weibo and WeChat, that educate female millennials on wine. This provides wine brands with a unique opportunity to potentially engage millions of young, female millennials via social media by using KOLs to gain trust for their foreign product.
Image Source: Premium Wine Broker, https://premiumwinebroker.com/brokers-blog/2019/4/1/who-are-the-biggest-wine-influencers-in-china
Utilising KOLs to market towards young female wine drinkers
Online retail has revolutionised the way people shop, especially in China where according to QuestMobile, the average Chinese person spends 4.7 hours on their phone a day for entertainment purposes alone, as of 2019. If products do not have an online presence in China, they will fail to captivate the Chinese market. To increase Australian wine presence in China, Wine Australia invited wine KOLs, the Chufei and Churan twins, for a two-day event that included multiple tastings of Australian wines. The trip was live-streamed and posted on social media, reaching over one million followers. The posts encouraged millennial upper-middle-class Chinese women to discover the joys of Australian wine. This would not only encourage online wine orders but has the potential to increase Chinese wine tourism in Australia. Wine has become a status symbol for Chinese millennials, who can demonstrate their sophistication through their own knowledge of wine. Wine tours, therefore, have a great appeal to this demographic and can be marketed by utilising female wine KOLs.
Image Source: Newsroom, http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/do-eco-friendly-wines-taste-better
Young Chinese women are opening China’s doors to imported wines as they seek new global wine brands. Wine is still far from the mainstream in China, leaving room for further growth that can add to the $1.2 billion AUD from Australian exports to China. To encourage this, Australian businesses can create an online presence for their products in China through the utilisation of Chinese KOLs.
Australia has an abundance of food festivals and wine tasting events perfect for KOL promotions across the year:
Taste of Tasmania
Taste the flavours of regional Tasmania during this end of the year food festival. Held in the city of Hobart, this carnival-style festival runs for 7 days and celebrates the seasonal flavours and ingredients native to the region. Key dates: Friday 27th of December 2019 to Thursday 2nd of January 2020.
Cellar Door Wine Festival, Adelaide
Fill up with food and wine at Adelaide’s Cellar Door Wine Festival, featuring wine tastings from over 150 wineries. Hone your wine tasting skills at a Masterclass, or explore the seasonal and local flavours of Adelaide’s best produce at the Farmer’s Market Key dates: TBC, Adelaide Convention Centre on North Terrace
Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival – Hunter Valley, New South Wales
From May to June, the Hunter showcases its best local culinary and wine talent of the region. Award-winning wineries and restaurants come together, offering guests culinary classes, winery tours, wine tastings and winemaking classes. Guests also have the opportunity to meet and greet with renowned winemakers, sommeliers and culinary specialists. Key dates: 1 May – 30th June 2020
Noosa Food & Wine Festival – Noosa, Queensland
Superb food and wine ensue from the convergence of Queensland’s culinary and wine masters. Enjoy a course of brunch, dinner and cocktails parties in this seaside town during Noosa’s balmy Autumn season. Key dates: 14 – 17th May 2020 Venues: Hastings Street, Noosa Main Beach, Lions Park
Good Food Month, Australia
Experience the best of Australian gastronomy during the World’s biggest food festival. With over 1000 events, guests can experience the best food from innovative chefs and local producers. Discover Australia’s best fine dining experiences at affordable prices. Key dates: Canberra – March, Perth – April, Melbourne – June, Brisbane – July, Sydney – October
Barossa Gourmet Festival – Barossa Valley, South Australia
Savour the flavours and dishes from South Australia’s renowned wine and gastronomy region, while taking part in 30 events over the festival’s 3-day period. Guests are offered the chance to take part in a plethora of cooking classes and wine tastings, making it one of Australia’s most popular foodie events of the year. Key dates: 6-8th September 2019
Tweed Fusion Festival, New South Wales
Come to know NSW Tweed Valley in October for a culinary adventure, alongside a beach setting, with local art and music. This festival is bound to please everyone, with Tweed Valley’s superb food and wine, and a terrific line-up of culinary talent. This festival is complemented by the Valley’s stunning landscape, stylish pop-up galleries, cafes, local art and music. Key dates: October 2019
Margaret River Gourmet Escape
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape involves a 4-day getaway in sun-drenched Western Australia. The festival includes a full itinerary of masterclasses, cooking demos, food tastings, pop-up restaurants, and live entertainment. The event boasts a guest list of international and local celebrity chefs, who contribute to local menus by adding unique twists to tried and tested dishes. Guests can also enjoy a few more days outside of the event exploring the region of Margaret River. Globally renowned for its beaches and foodie culture, Margaret River is also home to attractions such as the Lake and Mammoth Caves, as well as National and State forest trails. Key dates: 8-17th November 2019 @ Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River, Australia.
Taste of Melbourne
Join hundreds of Australians for Melbourne’s most popular food and wine festival during November. Taking place in the heart of Melbourne, Albert Park, pop-up restaurants are packed with special menus exhibiting Melbourne’s most lavish and locally procured dishes. Feast your way through curated dishes, sharpen your wine-tasting acumen, and hone your cocktail mixing skills during this weekend-long fete. Key dates: November 2019.
Lucy MacDonald Connolly & Ruoxin Zhou
- China’s economy causes sudden drop in Chinese tourism to Australia
- Popular Chinese programme predicted to drastically increase Chinese tourism in Western Australia with a potential advertisement gift of $500million
- Understanding the Chinese market is key for Australian businesses to re-capture Chinese interest
Image Source: The cast of Viva La Romance in Western Australia. Weibo, Account name: Viva La Romance
Australia has fallen from the second most popular destination Chinese tourists visit to the fourth, according to figures from a recent UBS report. The weakening Chinese economy paired with the China – U.S trade war has led to a decline in Chinese tourists visiting Australia that many fear will only get worse. Now more than ever, Australian businesses will greatly benefit from understanding how to market towards the Chinese. Creative promotion of destinations that have been mostly undiscovered by Chinese tourists has been proven to re- capture Chinese interest in Australia as the ultimate travel destination.
Western Australia utilises Chinese tourists to boost the tourism industry
According to Budget Direct, Chinese tourists, the number one inbound visitor to Australia, spent roughly £10.4 billion AUD in 2017. Yet, Western Australia was reaping far less benefits gaining $271 million through their mere 57,000 yearly Chinese visitors in 2017. To build upon an already existing Chinese presence, tourism Minister Paul Papalia worked with the Shanghai Trade Office to secure Western Australia as a film location for season two of Viva le Romance in hopes to fulfil Western Australia Tourism’s goal of doubling Chinese visitor numbers by 2020. The reality show centres around some of China’s most famous women, including one of the countries most recognised personalities Zhang Ziyi, as they embark on romantic journeys around the world. As a state that is often bypassed by tourists for more iconic destinations such as Sydney, the show has provided excellent exposure of Western Australia to the shows 1.8 billion viewers per season, according to Mango TV. The West Australia predicts that Viva La Romance will potentially bring in $500 million AUD to the state by increasing tourism.
High spending Chinese tourists can be lured to other Australian destinations
Statistics from Mango TV demonstrate that the show is primarily watched by young, urban, educated women who make up China’s highest spend demographic. Millennial Chinese tourists have the potential to bring in big money to local industries as they make up China’s highest spend demographic according to The China Luxury Report 2019. Businesses in Western Australia must prepare to sell their local specialities, such as wine and seafood, that appeal to the Chinese market.
The program, which aired in March earlier this year, showed the Chinese actresses parachuting in Rottnest Island, visiting the Busselton Jetty and even swimming with dolphins. This successfully showcased the beauty of Western Australia to potential Chinese tourists. Such imagery greatly appeals to the market for the Chinese wanting to escape their overcrowded cities for open air, natural landscapes which can be found in abundance not only in Western Australia but all over the country. Seemingly unaffected by China’s weakened economy, millennial Chinese have no reason not to visit Australia. Many other less visited locations of Australia can follow Western Australia’s example and exploit this need for open landscapes.
Using KOLs to entice potential Chinese tourists
Having a famous Chinese programme filmed in an Australian location is not a necessity, a far simpler method can be used. The use of China’s Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s) social media presence could potentially lead to the exposure of lesser known locations to millions of people. The high population of China leads to huge potential for content exposure with the star of Viva le Romance Zhang Ziyi having 28,000,000 followers on Weibo, one of China’s leading social medias. Due to Chinese influencers having the trust of their followers, any KOL promotion of Australian locations has the potential to attract millions of tourists. It is important that Australian businesses are educated on Chinas social media platforms due to the potential for the business these platforms can unlock. Travel KOLs share detailed information on their travelling experiences, from their hotels to dining reviews, on Chinese social media apps such as Little Red Book. Photos of these KOLs in the scenic landscapes of Australia, as well as paid reviews of specific travel experiences on their social medias will generate great exposure of Australia to potential visitors.
The success of Western Australia has created opportunities for other lesser known locations across the country to increase their tourism through appealing to the Chinese.Through creative marketing strategies that utilise Chinese KOL’s, Australia has the chance to climb itself back up the list of favourite Chinese travel destinations.
Lucy MacDonald Connolly & Ruoxin Zhou
- Australia owes the 10.2% growth in its luxury retail industry to Chinese consumers
- High spenders now seek more unique, creative brands
- Majority of successful luxury brands work with KOLs to reach their target audience and tell their brand story
Image Source: Catwalk at Fashion Week Australia 2019. Xinhuannet, www.news.cn
Australia has Chinese tourism to thank for a 10.2% growth per year since 2013 in Australia’s luxury retail industry, according to IbisWorld. It is also estimated that Chinese shoppers make up two thirds of overall luxury retail sales in Australia. Chinese millennials are the driving force behind China’s appetite for luxury fashion, accounting for more than half of the total spending on luxury by Chinese consumers in 2018, according to The China Luxury Report 2019. Without the influx of Chinese tourists and Chinese students in Australia, this boom would not be possible, but more can be done to ensure this trend continues to benefit Australia’s fashion industries.
Australian designs have the potential to break through to China’s market
Whilst sales are skyrocketing for the Australian stores of world-renowned brands, such as Louis Vuitton, more could be done to create a presence for smaller Australian designers in China itself. Australian designs have captivated the world, whether its Kendall Jenner sporting an Anna Quan dress or Meghan Markle showing off her Camilla and Marc blazer, yet this success has not broken through to China’s market.
Image Source: Chinese customer sporting Alice McCalls design. Little Red Book, username: 傻傻Marisa.
Image Source: Daigo Weibo account selling Alice McCall’s designs. Weibo, username: 李桑妮sunnie4327.
As the second largest economy in the world according to World Bank, the Chinese market appeals to many businesses. Yet the vast cultural differences of China, in which Western social medias are blocked, has left business unaware how to market towards the Chinese. Australian designer Alice McCall has proved that breaking into the Chinese market is easier than you may think. Daigou, literally translating to ‘Surrogate Shopping’, is a form of cross border shopping in which an individual will travel outside of China to shop for the goods required by their client. Despite this practice being practically unheard of in Western culture, designer McCall was quick to utilise Chinese Daigou, offering private appointments in some of her stores and even video chatting Daigou on popular Chinese social media app WeChat. Her understanding of the Chinese market has resulted in 80% of her trade coming from Chinese customers, a figure she revealed in an interview to The Sunday Morning Herald. Whilst McCall was able to utilise Daigou, according to Chinese Economic Weekly, the Electronic Commerce Law of 2019 has rendered it nearly impossible for Daigou to profit from their work due to high taxation. New distribution channels can be utilised in place of Daigou. Taobao, often described as China’s amazon, includes shops owned by Chinese fashion KOLs that sell products from other brands straight into the hands of their loyal followers. Other apps such as TMall and WeChat have the same potential for stores in which businesses can drive traffic via KOLs.
Utilising KOLs to appeal to high spending millennials
Fashion industries must be open to explore other avenues that differ to Western norms but will appeal greatly to the Chinese market. Chinese millennials make up one of Chinas highest spending demographic, spending an average of 41,000 RMB ($8,435 AUD) per person, per year on luxury alone according to The China Luxury Report 2019. Now is the time for Australian brands to appeal to this demographic due to a new trend in which millennials stir away from classic luxury brands in the search for a more unique look.
The most effective way of appealing to this demographic is through utilising Chinese social media influencers, or KOLs. Fashion KOLs heavily influence their viewers shopping behaviours. Therefore, photos of a fashion KOL sporting an Australian design has the potential to introduce Australian designers to millions of Chinese viewers and immediately sell via ecommerce plug ins. Inviting Chinese designers to Australian fashion shows could further bridge the gap between the Australian and Chinese fashion industries, with both parties involved having access to vital advice on each countries market. This years ‘Fashion Week Australia’ took place at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. This venue perhaps reflects that the Australian fashion industry has recognised that attracting Chinese consumers would greatly benefit Australian brands. Fashion shows in general have the potential to lure Chinese millennial consumers with 75% of interviewees stating they would attend fashion shows over other events associated with fashion in The China Luxury Report 2019.
Image Source: Catwalk through the Chinese Garden of Friendship for Fashion Week Australia 2019. Xinhuannet, www.news.cn.
The power of KOLs
The fashion industry has recognised the impact that Chinese KOLs have the potential to make. Luxury fashion brands such as Givenchy, Gucci and Louis Vuitton have often utilised Chinese fashion KOLs to appeal to the Chinese market. Tao Liang, better known as Mr.Bags, has an impressive WeChat following of 3.7 million followers. After partnering with Givenchy, his bags sold out in a mere 12 minutes generating roughly 1.2 million RMB ($248,299 AUD), according to ChinaChannel. The bags were promoted merely through a post on Liang’s WeChat account that at the time had 1.2 million followers. This is not to say that successful collaborations rely on big brand names. Fashion KOL Becky Li’s partnership with designer Rebecca Minkoff experienced similar success with the collaborations 1,200 bags selling out in just two days. Fashion KOLs have such an influence over their viewers to the extent that with collaboration, their followers will trust brands they otherwise may have never heard of. Utilising fashion KOLs would be the perfect way for Australian designers to gain the trust of Chinese consumers.
Image Source: Becky Li sporting her Rebecca Minkoff bag collaboration. Weibo, username: 凯特周设计师精品.
Chinese consumers already associate Australian fashion with luxury as seen by the Chinese consumer boom in luxury brands across the country. With an understanding of Chinese consumer patterns, Australian designers can break through to the Chinese market.
Lucy MacDonald Connolly & Ruoxin Zhou
- Chinese tourists have been enticed to celebrate their traditional festivities in Australia
- Events that are not specifically Chinese seek to incorporate Chinese culture
- Australian businesses can utilise Chinese travel bloggers to benefit from the increase of Chinese tourism to Australia
Image Source: Chinese dragon in Sydney. Weekend Notes, https://www.weekendnotes.com/celebrate-lunar-new-year-sydney/
Whether you are celebrating New Years Eve or Chinese New Year, you can be assured that Australia will provide the perfect event for all festivities. Australian celebrations embrace the countries diversity by incorporating international traditions through staple celebratory events. Australia’s high Chinese population has made it a particularly great place for Chinese festivities.
Chinese tourists have reason to celebrate their holidays in Australia
Whilst many may not think it, Sydney’s Lunar Festival is one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. With as many as 80 events across arts, culture, food and sport. During the Lunar New Year, it is not uncommon to witness a dragon dance on the streets of Sydney, making many Chinese Australians feel at home during this important time of the year. This feeling can also be extended to Sina’s predicted 7 million Chinese people that will travel outside of China for the Lunar New Year.
Image Source: Sydney Opera House during Vivid Sydney event. Vivid Sydney, https://www.australia.com/en/events/festivals-and-celebrations/vivid-sydney.html
The Lunar New Year is not the only Australian festivity that appeals to potential Chinese tourists. Vivid Sydney combines art and technology to beautifully transform the city through innovative light sculptures. Some of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Sydney Opera House, are covered in colourful artwork that captures the true beauty of Australia. In recent years, more Asian artwork has been incorporated into the event, such Dr. Tianli Zu’s piece ‘I Dance With You’. The piece depicted the Chinese mythical Qilin beast to symbolise prosperity and peace. This art piece will pave the way for further incorporations of Chinese artwork into the event in the hopes to increase further Chinese tourism to this spectacular event.
Chinese travel bloggers opening doors to the Chinese market
On the popular Chinese travel blog website, Mafengwo, articles on Vivid Sydney have accumulated impressive hits, with the top article receiving 103,117 views. Yet, more could be done to effectively market Vivid Sydney to the Chinese market in a way that could benefit multiple Australian companies. Chinese travel bloggers share intricate details of their entire travelling experience, from events they attend to food recommendations. With just a click of a button, viewers can go from the travel blog straight to the website of your business. This provides local Australian companies the opportunity to increase or kick start their presence in China simply through one travel blogger recommending their brand. With the Chinese International Travel Monitor’s research that shows 69% of Chinese tourists enjoy tasting local food, this is a particularly great opportunity for Australian cuisine industries to advertise their brand to Chinese holiday seekers. Travel KOLs have the trust of their followers which can be the start of initiating trust between Chinese consumers and Australian brands through KOL endorsement.
Image Source: Travel blogger post on Chinese social media app. Little red book, username: 恩琳小猪
Golden Week set to potentially bring millions of Chinese tourists to Australia
Better known as Golden Week, from the 1st to the 7th of October, the Chinese have a whole week off work to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Half of the country use this as a rare opportunity to travel outside of their home cities with travel platform Xiecheng estimating 7 million people chose to spend their Golden Week abroad in 2018. This number is only expected to increase as the crowds in China during the holiday greatly tarnish celebrations. According to Skyscanner, 2018 saw a whopping 42% decrease in Chinese tourists travelling to the United States during their Golden Week due to the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. South Korea, a previous favourite Golden Week destination also experienced a decline in Chinese tourism leaving Australia with an excellent opportunity to takeover. With the utilisation of travel KOLs, Chinese tourists could easily be enticed to spend their time celebrating Golden week in Australia.
Australian industries can utilise Chinese travel KOLs to make potential tourists aware of the events that celebrate Chinese festivities. Australia is a perfect destination for Chinese tourists to celebrate their traditions whilst experiencing the culture and localities of a new and exciting place. Perhaps in the future there will be specific events during China’s Golden Week. For now, the promotion of Australian tourist attractions and Australian businesses by travel KOLs will entice Chinese tourists.
Image Source:Crowds in China during Golden Week. Youth.cn, http://picture.youth.cn/qtdb/201810/t20181005_11747028_8.htm
Image Source: Crowds in China during Golden Week. Ecns.cn http://www.ecns.cn/visual/hd/2012/10-08/7443.shtml
Australia hosts many events throughout the year where a variety of collaborations with Chinese influencers can take place with local brands or the event itself:
Sydney’s New Year’s Eve
Bring in the New Year amidst the landscape of Sydney’s city skyline, and experience Sydney’s world-renowned firework display cascade down the Harbour Bridge. Visitors may also choose to head to the water on Sydney’s New Year’s Eve Cruise, which hosts dinner and entertainment for the ultimate party experience.
Key dates: 31st December, 2019
This epic day celebrates everything great about being Australian, and is enjoyed outdoors, in parks or at the beach. Sydney’s Harbour bridge sets the stage for an unforgettable schedule of live entertainment throughout the day, followed by fireworks from 9pm.
Key dates: 26th January, 2020
Sydney Chinese New Year
Discover Sydney as the city transforms into a foreshore of life, filled with lanterns, dragon boat races, on the landscape of Darling Harbour. The city holds this spectacular event to celebrate the onset of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Key dates: tbc January, 2020
Melbourne Chinese New Year
Attracting crowds of up to 80,000 each year, the Victoria Street Lunar New Year celebrations holds a spectacular month-long variety of food stalls, wine offerings and live performances each night. People from all backgrounds are brought together to celebrate diversity and community.
Key dates: 22nd – 25th January, 2020.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comedians from all backgrounds are invited to take center stage at theatres, pub and clubs during this festival. The festival gives spotlight to Australian and International talent, and offers hundreds of shows, with baseline tickets averaging at $30 per head.
Key dates: March 25th – April 19th 2020.
The multi-award-winning festival of light, music and ideas displayed across Sydney. A free public exhibition for all the family and enjoyed by over 2 million people each year, Vivid Sydney has something spectacular for everyone.
Key dates: 22nd May – 13th of June 2020.
Splendour in the Grass
Experience everything from indie pop to alternative rock as local and internationally-renowned talents take the stage at one of Australia’s most popular music events every year.
Key dates: 19-21st July 2019 (TBC) @ Byron Bay, New South Wales
Melbourne International Film Festival
Australia’s largest film festival runs from 17 days and has attracted crowds of over 200,000 people per year. The festival includes a 4-day conference, called South Market, where filmmakers, directors, distributors, producers, and other industry experts are encouraged to convene, network, attend workshops and lectures. The festival showcases both local and international talent and offers various prizes for best films of the year.
Key dates: 1-18th August, 2019
Melbourne White Night Festival
This signature Winter event runs into the night from 7pm to 7am, and showcases free and ticketed light display, street performance, adventure-themed and fashion experiences. The event offers a spectacle of the city’s unmatched music and cultural offerings, shining a light on the brimming talent of the Victorian capital.
Key dates: TBC, Late August, 2019
Sydney Christmas Festival
Christmas means spending time with loved ones. On this magical day, Sydney exhibits their best Christmas decorations, lighting up the city and surrounding suburbs. Holiday-goers can also enjoy Christmas food and drink market, local pop-up designer markets, and carols in Sydney’s renowned Town Hall.
Key dates: 24th November – 26th December 2019 (TBC) @ Town Hall
Melbourne Christmas Festival
The magic of Christmas is celebrated with festive dining and drinks, indulgent seasonal treats, and entertainment throughout the day. Free festive and Christmas-curated events are also on offer to the public throughout the Christmas period.s
An insight by Michael MacRitchie
Australian companies have been building a strong relationship and reputation with Chinese consumers for many years now. Given the rising availability of Australian products and the increasing ease with which they can be purchased online in China, such companies have been leveraging their popularity and growing demand to establish a foothold in what is becoming a vital market. According to estimates by Austrade, between 5% and 10% of retail food, including health products and baby formula, are now sold online on e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and Alibaba.
Wise brands have made efforts to attach their names to the image of Chinese celebrities and influences to further resonate and connect with existing and new customers alike. Celebrity partnerships, influencer campaigns and product placement on Chinese television shows will increasingly help bolster sales for Australian brands in China. Australian companies using Chinese celebrities in their marketing are enhancing their brand in the eyes of the 434 million active users in China of the Alibaba platforms which include Tmall, Tmall Global and Taobao.
Online shoppers in China have a high regard for Australian products, seeing them as safe, high quality and good value for money. Australia, seen by Chinese consumers as a place with a good lifestyle, resonates so much that most plan to buy something from the country in the next 12 months.
Reflected in the numbers, a recent poll of 1,000 Chinese online shoppers, aged 18 to 44 years old in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, revealed that Australian brands are already highly revered, with 81% having previously purchased at least one Australian product online. The online shoppers estimated that they have spent RMB4,895 ($940) on Australian goods over the last year. Nearly two thirds (62%) of these consumers like buying Australian-made because they consider the way of life appealing. More than one third (36%) said the Australian goods are value for money and 32% believed they are safer than Chinese goods.
“The Chinese middle-class have voraciously embraced online retailing and many celebrities and sports stars have enormous followings on social media, with small mentions of products, photos or videos featuring a particular product in the background having major impact”, Alibaba’s Australia boss Maggie Zhou has said. “With the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the emergence of online marketplaces connecting to consumers in China, it is becoming much easier for Australian businesses to do business with China.”
In the survey, Australian dairy products were seen as world-class by 58% of Chinese online shoppers. A fifth or more believe the same for health supplements and pharmaceutical products (39%), baby products (31%), skincare products (25%), fresh seafood and meat (24%), fresh fruit and vegetables (20%) and wine (20%). Cosmetic and skincare products were purchased by 31%, followed by healthcare and pharmaceutical products (25%).
“This research indicates secure payment, authenticity and seller recommendations are more important to Chinese online shoppers than price and brand. It’s important to have a world-leading product, but selling it through the right channels is also crucial.”
MGI sees continued growth areas around tourism and travel, dairy, health supplements, beauty care and education. The key, however is understanding that China is such a vast country and if you are looking to target a specific city, say Shanghai or Beijing, brands need to work with influencers who will resonate the most in specific areas. Be smart when approaching China – a well thought out influencer strategy verses a large scale celebrity endorsement is more effective in “selling” product, while the correct celebrities will generate a large amount of exposure and brand awareness.
The perfect example of Australian brands utilizing their strong reputation can be seen in the vitamin and supplement industry – which has seen rapidly growing demand from China where the focus amongst consumers has shifted from a product based mind-set to prioritizing quality of life and experiences. China is currently Australia’s second largest market for pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and health products with exports amounting to $381 million in 2013-14, according to a report by The University of Sydney.
Vitamin group Blackmores has enlisted retired Chinese tennis star Li Na as an ambassador for its brand, while Swisse vitamins uses actress Nicole Kidman & Fan Bingbing in its marketing. Whilst the Weetbix breakfast cereal made by Sanitarium experienced a huge spike in sales after it featured in a domestic scene in the Chinese television drama Ode To Joy.
As living standards rise and people become more conscious of their health and wellbeing, Chinese consumers have been turning their focus to offshore products. Most notably, Australia’s baby formula and multivitamins.
“China is facing a host of new health challenges, including an ageing population, changing diets, increasing prevalence of obesity and environmental problems,” says professor John Knight, at the George Institute for Global Health. “The demand for high quality health care is a constant, unlike the boom and bust cycles of many other industries such as the resources sector.”
This comes as no surprise. Over the past years, there have been multiple reports of people in China selling counterfeit products including powder packaged in A2 Platinum Formula and Bellamy’s Organic milk tins. While Chinese authorities have tried to clamp down on unregulated imports by levying import taxes in a bid to save local businesses, this hasn’t affected those who are sending products by post.
My Top 5 tips for brands in the China market.
1) Be clever in how you maximize your celebrity/KOL investment. If you work with a KOL make sure you do the necessary research on their numbers and followers so you understand that their audience is “real”.
2) It’s not always necessary to always work with the biggest celebrity. Choose relevance and fit over fame.
3) Target your approach. If are only focusing on 1st tier cities, make sure the followers of the talent are linked to the city.
4) Tell a good story and localize your message. If you are promoting a food product, do some grass roots marketing with live streaming to showcase your farm, meet the farmers or people producing the product.
5) Reward your top performing KOL or celebrity with non cash incentive. Sometimes a good experience is even more valuable than a pure cash payment.
Michael MacRitchie, BA, Media, is Managing Partner at MGI Entertainment. Michael has over 15 years of experience MGI has negotiated contracts with notable Chinese artists like; Andy Lau, Li Bingbing, Fan Bingbing, Jolin Tsai, Sunny Wang, Laure Shang, Jay Chou, Blackie Chen, Jackie Chan and many influencers.
An Insight from Rob Pringle
It’s becoming increasingly clear that KOLs, particularly in China, hold a great deal of influence among their followings. Able to sway the decision making habits of huge audiences, they’ve become an essential avenue for brands to promote their products and services to a highly engaged and targeted audience. KOLs can help brands connect with China’s massive $261 billion USD outbound tourism market. But companies can do much more than offer free trips and merchandise to build working relationships with KOLs.
KOL Advertising in China began small a few years ago and has turned into a $8 billion industry. The tourism sector, in particular, has made a massive transformation from more traditional billboard-and-commercial advertising to using social media influence.
For example, actress Yao Chen had 26 million Weibo fans when she got married in New Zealand in 2012. Her social media updates throughout the trip plus constant media coverage helped New Zealand attract a staggering 30% more Chinese tourists that year.
Travel decisions are weightier than other consumer expenditures. The safety of a destination is a leading consideration for both free independent travellers (FITs) and package tour groups from China. The latter are particularly price-sensitive and value using their available time effectively. For example, a premium travel destination such as Australia, which already commands a favourable image among Chinese travellers, is able to leverage such status to appeal to a wider audience of potential tourists from China. It is well known that China is now Australia’s largest and most lucrative source of tourism to Australia at 1.35 million visitors and AU$11 billion annually.
It’s easy to see how trust carries a premium when marketing to Chinese outbound tourists. Yet too many travel companies aren’t leveraging their value when recruiting China KOLs beyond offering free trips and merchandise. Here are five strategies to increase KOL Advertising ROI.
Brands big and small should post about the KOL with whom they work. Not just a quick shout-out, but promotion across all relevant platforms that makes the KOL feel valued and gives them a larger footprint.
Just as brands might view China-based, Chinese-speaking KOLs as a complex yet lucrative foreign frontier, so too are Western brands seen as an exciting new opportunity by Chinese KOLs.
It’s true; Chinese travellers have clear preferences and expectations.
However, the above statement can be very misleading.
While plenty of studies have been done to grasp the nature of the Chinese tourist, it’s important to avoid generalizations. This group of 133 million people can be broken down into a myriad of cohorts by age, status, and interests. They all have very different wants and expectations.
KOLs allow smaller groups with very particular desires to gravitate to content that reflects their personalities. Traditional outlets don’t come close in this regard. By working with a KOL for marketing in China, you get insight into specific groups from the individuals who understand them best. This creates a much more effective and targeted strategy for strengthening your presence with the right audience.
Start by asking what the KOLs’ followers want and what travel services they’d like to see. Work with them to create new offerings that target markets other brands haven’t penetrated. Deeply insightful market research doesn’t need to cost a fortune if you have a strong relationship with a KOL.
Chinese fans are more willing to be influenced by people they are familiar with rather than brands themselves. When someone they consider to be genuine or a role model is doing the talking, chances are higher that they will be influenced. Here is the example of Janice 简妮, a renowned traveling blogger based in Shenzhen. With more than 3 million Weibo fans, she’s constantly sharing her life and insider tips to things like having high tea in Macau, taking a SPA experience in Sanya, or enjoying the best beaches around LA. By actively interacting with her fans, Janice helps to create tangible guides for future travellers.
Travel KOLs are supposed to be experts, so brands should help them expand their expertise. This means providing exclusive insights into locations, trends, and services that travellers will find valuable.
As a travel company, you know a lot more about unique, out-of-the-way or emerging itineraries than the average person. These kinds of trip ideas are especially alluring for people browsing the web for their next destination, as Airbnb well knew when creating their Experiences feature and Wanderlust campaign.
Airbnb used their hosts’ plethora of local knowledge to create unique experiences.
People start following a KOL because they provide unique value and perspectives that appeal to them. For most travel-focused China KOLs, unshared information to create something valuable in their niche is worth much more than discounts or merchandise.
Provide the KOL with exclusive images and videos that are worth posting. This strategy is especially useful if the KOL will not be traveling. Give him or her as much support as you would an in-house employee to produce content. After all, they are taking the role of an employee.
If you don’t hire a KOL, you will pay someone to do creative, do distribution, and make targeted ads. A KOL does the work of an entire marketing department. You, however — as a travel company with on-location staff or at least a network in the destination area — have the raw materials and vicinity to make great content.
Finally, give-aways do have their place — but here’s an alternative method. Rather than giving the KOL a product, give her something she can give to fans in her own give-away. Chinese followers love give-aways. It’s fun, makes them feel valued, and can create additional promotional materials. But don’t make it a broad discount give-away, make it exclusive, and make it exciting.
MGI has outlined some additional tips for selecting the right KOLs, building and developing meaningful relationships with them.
Focus on engagement. Rather than just looking for the bloggers or celebrities with the most number of followers, focus instead on engagement. Some of the most influential KOLs post about quite niche topics, such as wine or handbags, but this means that they will be followed by a highly engaged and loyal audience, and can generate more profound effects. “Some brands understand the power of KOLs’ word of mouth. I did a WeChat promotion for a hotel group, and although the post only had 15,000 views, there was a high degree of interaction with fans, and this is sometimes a much more meaningful metric than exposure,” says Ju Zhu. WeChat also feels more personal to users than Weibo, as there is more interaction, and its focus on friends and relationships leads users to trust it more.
Develop the relationship. Some KOLs might endorse a different product every day of the week. This ultimately leads to lower ROI and a lower level of trust from followers. Rather than thinking about your relationship with a KOL as merely paying for a certain number of posts, you should focus instead on helping them to really get to know you. This might mean giving them more freedom – Ju Zhu explains that her most successful partnerships have come when she is allowed to write about her true feelings rather than to push a certain agenda. Mr Bags has also commented that he prefers working with companies that trust his opinion and allow him to promote the bags that he truly thinks will be most popular with his audience, not just the designs that the company thinks will do well in China.
Choose your channel. The social media channel that a KOL uses can impact the effect they have and how easy it is for followers to connect to you. With WeChat, many KOLs will be reluctant to add in a brand’s QR code, as they want to maintain their independent image. With Weibo, travel KOLs can more easily mention/@ the brand, ensuring more visibility for the brand’s account and an increase in number of followers. However, Weibo has been capitalizing on the popularity of KOLs and has begun to ask brands to pay a fee to run KOL campaigns where there is an obvious call to action to mention a brand, thus increasing the user base.
Set clear goals. In order to make sure you’re getting the exposure you’ve paid for, it’s important for brands to set clear KPIs for the KOLs they work with. This can include agreeing on a certain number of articles to write, format, the timing of the posts and whether the brand can share the KOL’s content on its channels.
In China, you’ll find influencers in all regions from cosmetics to fashion. These bloggers have shaped large communities of countless admirers. Important influencers have a wonderful affect on the Chinese as the typical netizen utilizes social networks as their key source of knowledge. WeChat is commonly referred to as the ‘WeChat times’. Quite a few Chinese now distrust the normal push from official sources. This kind of data informs their worldview and it has a terrific influence.
Influencer posts may perhaps incorporate the celebrity working with the services or products, function a url to the formal social networking webpages or web site or a direct endorsement of your high quality from the product/service. Visible photographs and video material are inclined to entice the most attention and allows the post to go viral. Followers will often share influencer posts on their own feeds.
Collaboration with Influencers and Creating Belief
It’s important to discover the Influencers who can faucet into your current market niche and link with them to get started on constructing relationships. This can be complicated with all the language obstacles, so acquiring a third social gathering agent to liaise together with the influencer is essential to signal an offer.
In relation to new services and products the Chinese are famously distrustful and like to buy whatever they know or whatever happens to be suggested. An endorsement from the trustworthy dependable figure is worth its weight in gold.
Partnerships are significantly costly
Influencers in China are aware of their privileged placement and know how to leverage it. Businesses have sprung nearly represent them since they absolutely are a very valued digital asset. It’s akin on the good results of the ‘Celebrity YouTubers’ but over a greater scale monetarily (with regards to original financial investment and possible return).
Papi Jiang, for instance, bought her 1st video advert for 3 million dollars. She’s a satirical movie maker with more than one hundred million followers. Weibo user ‘Han Huo Huo’ is one of one of the most influential manner bloggers in China with above three million followers on his page.
More KOL examples
‘Micro influencers’ can also be vital. They are figures which have shaped scaled-down communities based upon niche topics and pursuits. They don’t have tens of millions of followers but are still influential in their smaller communities.
When you use a more compact price range and can’t find the money for the large-scale ‘Opinion Leaders’ and famous people then contemplate utilizing ‘micro influencers’.
Using the diversification of media applications in 2017, ‘alternative platforms’ such as ‘Nice’ (akin to Instagram) or Little Pink Reserve (e-commerce app with social team chats) are gaining strength. This could really encourage the rise of micro-influencers to make a distinct style of social place outside the house in the significant scale Influencer-led WeChat.
An article by Rob Pringle
As far as reputations go, Australian products in China have a stronghold on reception with Chinese consumers, widely regarded as premium quality, value for money and trustworthiness. MGI has previously written on the trend of Chinese shoppers preferring Australian made products to local or other international options.
This is particularly true of FMCG items, where safety and standard of ingredients are important considerations at the purchasing point. Food produce, as well as health and beauty products have fared particularly well by capturing the attention of the China market and leveraging Australia’s positive image to drive sales.
Often hailed as “clean and green”, Australia’s image boasts real authenticity, a trait frequently attributed to influencing purchasing behaviour and demand in China. MGI has selected 6 types of products below that Chinese consumers often want specifically from Australia.
In this post, we will summarise the key points on how to “sell” Aussie products to China with influencers.
A China market strategy.
Although an opportunity exists, in order to gain traction in the Chinese market the approach needs to be strategic, holistic and relentless. It’s more than just language, it’s about understanding cultures. It needs to be a long term view.
China is currently the second largest pharmaceutical market, expected to be worth $167billion by 2020. Healthcare is an increasing priority for China and Chinese consumers with many looking for high quality supplement products from Australia.
Swisse and Blackmores are both examples of Australian companies connecting with Chinese consumers and carving out demand. Swisse deepened their connection with the market by partnering with Fan Bingbing for a promotional campaign, using her status to resonate with existing and new consumers. Blackmores appears daily at the top of Tmall Global, selling more than 30,000 units per month.
After a wave of scandals, negatively affecting the image of local Chinese healthcare products, other counties’ products have become more synonymous with safety and guaranteed quality, swaying many consumers to opt for an international option.
How to sell:
We believe this space will continue to grow. Areas that these brands can focus on are in sponsoring branded entertainment, aligning with KOLs with a call to action campaign. (Sport, fashion, beauty, food) pillars.
Over the last 5 years, the value of dairy products exported from Australia to China has grown from $144million to $403million. The increase in demand has been so steep that butter prices in Australia have been affected with the shifting destination of the supply.
As the Chinese market has matured, dairy consumption has increased, with China and Malaysia still being the fastest growing markets in the region.
How to sell:
Doing some story telling with KOLs in NZ or Australia is an effective way to explain the health benefits of Australian/NZ dairy products. Emphasis to show where the products come from and the environment where the conditions are optimal. (Diets for today’s high-producing dairy cows are typically higher in energy from readily fermentable carbohydrates than fats)
Packaging over 2,000 tonnes of honey each year, Chinese consumers are wanting the very best in “Australian Honey”. Chinese consumers are very wary of fake honey products. Capilano is Australia’s leading honey producer and product is sourced from only Certified Organic beekeepers. This is 100% pure Australian honey. Which is what Chinese consumers want.
As Chinese culture places a special significance on the natural healing abilities of honey, China has become of huge consumer of premium honey produce.
How to sell:
Doing some story telling with KOLs in NZ & Australia. Do some live streaming while honey is collected from wild bee colonies. More importantly talk about the health benefits especially for young children. Hint – work with “Super Mother KOLS” “Health and beauty influencers”
Drawing on the same status of safe products with authentic and quality ingredients, Australia’s food industry has seen growing demand with increasing exports to China. China, which possesses the world’s largest food and beverage market worth over $560 billion, presents a vital region of potential customers to exporting countries such as Australia. China’s import market value is growing and expected to be valued at $71 billion this year.
Chinese consumers are often willing to pay a large premium to get imported food products. This has been apparent with Chinese social media based obsession with Australian goods. Local exporters have been selling boxes of Weet-Bix, an Autralian breakfast cereal, for upwards of $50 on Chinese social media.
This price is about 10 times the cost of Weet-Bix in Australian stores, demonstrating just how popular Australian products are in China, with chance celebrity endorsements ramping up the exposure and demand of the product with local consumers. Sanitarium have enjoyed a 50% sales spike from last year as the group put together a product placement and sponsorship program with Taiwanese-Chinese reality TV star and “supermum” Alyssa Chia.
How How to sell:
It was a product placement in a popular Chinese drama program called Ode to Joy, and the reaction sent sales through the roof.
When one of the drama’s lead characters expressed their love for the flaky wheat cakes on the program during an episode that aired in May, demand shot up in a way Sanitarium had never anticipated.
In summary, to make the most of the demand for Australian organic food in China, brands need to be able to understand what’s driving the organic food craze, and to partner with savvy distributors. Pick KOLs and influencers who represent a healthy, premium lifestyle, work with the right influencers and other brands will also enjoy a similar product spike.
Skincare and Beauty Products
Skincare and beauty products coming from Australia are held in high regard in China, with a stellar reputation stemming from higher quality of ingredients and more rigorous testing standards.
A’kin (pictured) Creates its hard-working products by selecting natural ingredients that work in synergy with the skin, and extracting them in a way that retains their goodness. Better yet, every step of the process used to create A’kin’s effective skin care products is done in an environmentally-friendly way.
Ever since China started to shift its position from the world’s dominant manufacturing powerhouse to the world’s biggest and most attractive consumer market, the consumption habits of Chinese consumers also started to move toward increasing maturity and sophistication. This trend is perceived as a tremendous opportunity for organic brands entering China and competition in this market is intensifying
“The rosemary shampoo comes in a dark green bottle that is beautiful and practical, the smell is beyond amazing! it smells divine and exactly like fresh rosemary. The smell lingers in your hair after and your bathroom also smells amazing. Since switching haircare brands and especially using the rosemary shampoo my scalp has returned to normal and i have had no bad reactions” Said Janice (Chinese beauty influencer)
Australian made beauty products have become so popular that Australian Creams, owned by Sydney-based G & M Cosmetics has been rated the “most recognised” Australian brand, ahead of airline Qantas.
Best way to sell:
Make up tutorials, positioning with “Little Red Book” & call to action campaigns would be effective ways to communicate with consumers via relevant KOLs. Partner with KOLs who’s audience is interested in skincare, beauty products and makeup. Work with a KOL to explain the benefits over time. One beauty influencer said of using A’kin
“The rosemary shampoo comes in a dark green bottle that is beautiful and practical, the smell is beyond amazing! it smells divine and exactly like fresh rosemary. The smell lingers in your hair after and your bathroom also smells amazing. Since switching haircare brands and especially using the rosemary shampoo my scalp has returned to normal and i have had no bad reactions” Janice
When it comes to the importance of selecting the highest quality products, parents will often choose the best option when buying for their children. This is especially true of Chinese consumers opting for Australian made baby formula.
Figures have revealed that China is taking 67% of Australia’s $45 million formula industry. An increase of 26% from five years before.
How to sell:
Trust is a very important issue when parents decide what to buy to nourish their babies. Obviously, please make sure you select KOL’s with a good reputation and do your research on engagement. We have mentioned the term “super mums” previously in this article. (Footnote- to Australian baby formulae companies, need to explain that CHINA is not trying to raid Aussie supplies completely.)
· Ziyi Zhang, one of China’s most successful actors and recognised personalities will be starring in Mango TV’s Viva La Romance.
· Viva La Romance is watched by over 130 million people weekly and each season attracts a total audience of more than 2 billion viewers.
· The leading Chinese show (most popular show in Q3, 2018) begins filming Season 2 in Australia between the 19th -29th January 2019.
· Filming locations will include Rottnest Island and Melbourne showcasing Australia to more than 2 billion viewers.
· Zhang Ziyi is best known for her appearances in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a Screen Actors Guild for her role in Memoirs of a Geisha
Ziyi Zhang, one of China’s most successful actors and recognised personalities arrived in Australia last weekend and to film season 2 of Mango TV’s Viva La Romance.
As one of the most popular Chinese programs, Viva La Romance is watched by more than 130 million people weekly and each season attracts a total audience or more than 2 billion viewers.
The Chinese reality show centres around some of China’s most famous women as they embark on romantic journeys around the world including; the Palace of Princess Sissi in Hungary, the Blue Danube in Austria, Mogan Mountain in China and now leading tourist locations in Australia.
Filming for Season 2 of Viva La Romance will showcase the beauty of Rottnest Island and Melbourne to the 130 million Chinese viewers who tune in to the program on a weekly basis.
Founder of leading entertainment marketing company, MGI Entertainment, Michael MacRitchie said, “this is an incredible opportunity for Australia to be exported straight into the homes of tens of millions of Chinese viewers and consumers.”
“This show desires to showcase the most magical and beautiful places on the planet provides an incredible opportunity not only for Australian Tourism, but Australian businesses to be exposed to the ever-expanding Chinese consumer market.”
“Viva La Romance is primarily watched by young, urban, educated women who make up China’s highest spend and earning demographic. This provides and incredible opportunity for Australia that is unparalleled in gaining instant exposure,” Michael MacRitchie said.
Zhang Ziyi is best known for her appearances in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rush Hour 2, Hero and House of Flying Daggers. One of her most critically acclaimed works, Memoirs of a Geisha, earned her nominations for a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance. She as well won 12 different Best Actress Awards for The Grandmaster.
Mango TV (芒果TV, Mángguǒ TV) is a Chinese Internet enterprise operated by mgtv.com Corporation. Mango TV was established on May 26, 2006 in Changsha, Hunan and later decided to use ‘Mango TV(Internet TV, PC, Phone and Pad)’ as its video platform branding title in 2008. Mango TV specialises in creating online videos and is an online platform providing all of the content that is presented in TV channels, and all other copyright works from Hunan Broadcasting System and Hunan Satellite TV. Its current headquarter is located in Golden Eagle Movie & TV Cultural City, Changsha, Hunan, China. Mango TV provides audience with all kinds of content including films, TV series, music, cartoons and entertainment.
MGI was founded in 2010 and is currently the leading entertainment marketing company for cross border transactions. MGI helps Australian and international brands gain exposure and sell product into the Chinese market by executing content, celebrity and influencer transactions. MGI has executed celebrity, influencer and sponsorship campaigns with artists; Brad Pitt, Li Bingbing, Fan Bingbing, Sunny Wang, Godfrey Gao, Kobe Bryant, Jay Chou, Karen Mok, Jessica Alba, Andy Lau, Beyonce, David Beckham, Ronaldinho and many Chinese influencer and KOL’s transactions.
MGI were recently asked to present at the China/Australia wine Summit on “Tourism, Trends and success factors in attracting Chinese tourists”.
China has the world’s highest number of smartphones and mobile internet users who spend in excess of three hours on their devices every day. Social media platforms such as WeChat, Sina Weibo, live stream video site Douyin, and Zhihu (a question and answer forum) are powerful communication tools on which to share wine wisdom and opinion without the usual constraints (or thoughtful curation) of traditional media.
China’s social media influencers reside in two camps. Key opinion leaders, or KOLs, comprised of the country’s famous actors, singers, and TV personalities, as well as web celebrities and bloggers. This group wields incredible power in China’s massive online retail market, especially in fashion, cosmetics, and luxury goods. They command commissions as payment for their endorsements: the higher the number of clicks per post, the more they get paid.
The term KOL has even become a job title in its own right and spawned an industry of agents who train and groom influencers in exchange for a share of their endorsement proceeds. While still strong, the influence of KOLs is waning as savvy consumers realize their heroes are paid to endorse products.
The gap in-between is where micro influencers are on the rise. Micro influencers are also bloggers and live stream video stars, but their voices carry more weight because they offer genuine opinions from trusted personalities. “There is something to be said for micro influencers,” Heller told an audience at Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018, noting that Millennial consumers are more reliant on their peers’ experiences than blindly following a KOL.
Where traditional media has historically been hampered by censorship, China’s social media stars are opening dialogue about wine. Their often candid, entertaining, bite-sized wine opinions are breaking down barriers and creating communities of wine lovers.
MGI founder Michael MacRitchie spoke about KOLs and stressed that the type of KOL you activate will depend on your target audience.
What is a KOL?
KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) can be known as either Chinese celebrities or famous social media users who create viral content and gained a huge following on social media websites. It can also refer to influencers, ‘wang hong’ and Internet celebrity.
Best way to work with KOL in the Wine Industry?
1) Create an amazing experience for the KOL at the cellar door.
2) Start conversations – Gift KOL’s your product.
3) Be targeted in your approach (18% of tourists come from SH, 18% come from GZ, 18% BJ).
4) Next wave of growth will be in second and third tier cities. Start developing conversations with KOLs now.
5) Make sure you are building relationships with 25-35-year-olds (biggest opportunity to grow your brand).
6) Have Chinese speaking support.
7) Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate (work with partners in food, tourism, Australian lifestyle, and experiences e.g. Horse Racing).
8) Look at where the KOLs are most active to compliment your shops (TMALL, TIKTOK, BILLBILLI).
9) Work with partners who can deliver results. Make sure the KOL does not have fake followers.
What does Successful Wine tourism look like?
Sales and profits for all stakeholders. But you’ll see this at the end of the year. What are the qualitative indicators you’re doing this right?
For the Chinese market specifically, additional factors influence visitor satisfaction.
– Personal safety and security
– Friendliness of locals
– Nature-based experiences
– Wine experiences
– Food and beverages.
– Value for money.
While food and wine can be experienced in Australia’s capital cities, the real attraction is the region where the product is produced. Australia’s wine regions offer potential visitors a combination of desirable factors that drive visitation, including world class natural beauty, safety and security, interesting attractions, and friendly, local people. There are five underlying principles for successful wine and food tourism in a global context:
- The proposition is authentic
- There is a strong cultural connection
- There is a clear regional identity
- Quality and hospitality is first class
- There is a clear and consistent point of difference
Chinese people speak Cchinese. If you want to sell to them, you need to market to them in their language.
Chinese visitors accept that most Australians won’t be able to converse in Mandarin or Cantonese, so if multi-lingual staff or translators are not available, there are still plenty of options to overcome the language barrier.
A conversational approach that is delivered with sincerity is appreciated.
De-risk a bit of your investment, and sell to them before they leave.
Gifts are an important aspect of holidays for Chinese visitors, and most will be seeking to take home souvenirs of their visit. High quality, authentic gifts that reflect the experience are particularly sought after.
Establishing an emotional connection to the brand that is sustained post-visit is a challenge every wine business faces. Reinforcement of the brand story throughout the visit is critical, however a sale or sign-up to the mailing list is the best way to ensure a connection is maintained. Every bottle of wine is unique and has its own story.
Engage with the visitors
Like visitors to any international destination, Chinese tourists are seeking an authentic cultural experience, delivered by real, local people. While most still prefer Chinese food, they are increasingly eager to explore new culinary frontiers, especially if a story is attached to the experience. Sharing food is a social experience, and the provision of food options to accompany or follow a tasting experience is highly regarded. The longer guests spend at the cellar door, the more likely they are to engage with the brand and record and share their experience.
Is bigger better?
These investments are traceable with links to your devoted TMALL Store or authorized vendors. You can learn from them and collect data. Those big spenders are the ones you have your distributors invite to their wine dinners back home, and not the distributors buddies.
What does Successful Wine tourism look like?
The most important factor in a successful wine tourism project is collaboration. For the Chinese market specifically, additional factors influence visitor satisfaction.
– Personal safety and security
– Friendliness of locals
– Nature-based experiences
– Wine experiences
– Food and beverages.
– Value for money.
Leveraging KOLs to attract Chinese tourists
Wine Tourism, is a multi-stakeholder platform, while all stakeholders generating a profit and value isn’t overly complex it does require clear goals, roles, and prudent risk managing distribution of resources. This starts with identifying all the stakeholders, what they want out of it, and what tools they’ll use to get it.
Airlines & Tour providers: Selling tickets, knowing when they’ll sell tickets, and who they’ll be selling them to.
Hotels: Selling rooms, knowing when they’ll sell the rooms, and who they’ll sell them to.
All the other businesses in the region; same thing.
And most importantly the labels: They want to introduce their wines to new customers, and establish a better relationship with existing customers – but most importantly, sell bottles after the tourist goes back home.
The labels in Northern California and France do this well while the majority of the other old world peers have missed the boat. While wine tourism booms in Spain, Italy, and Portugal with tourism being the engine of their economies, most wine consumers would be hard pressed to name an Italian label besides Sassicia or Ornelia, Spain and Portgual? Goose Eggs.
In the minds of Chinese consumers Australian wine and agricultural products are world class, and there’s already a demonstrated demand across all middle class and upwardly economic segments for agri-tourism.
Paid tasting experiences are best presented in a ‘tutored’ rather than self guided format to ensure the value proposition is fulfilled. Positive influence, maximum use of photos and visual materials with a laminated Chinese translation version of key brand story and of wine tasting information. Negative influence; assumption that all Chinese visitors lack wine knowledge. Presenting information about mass production.
In China’s populous cities, small voices are making a big impact. Where in many established wine countries the mass media has the power to move the market, China is a different story. Wine enthusiasts rely on their peers and social media influencers for wine information and recommendations, accessed by smartphone on popular social media platforms.
The dominance of social media has coincided with another phenomenon: the rise of China’s real consumer – where those who buy the wine are the ones who drink it, as opposed to gifting.
Here are some KOLs
Better known by her internet nickname Drunken Mother Goose, Wang Shenghan is the founder of Lady Penguin, a social media channel and online wine retailer. The Beijing native rose to fame via Sina Weibo – a microblogging website with more than 430m monthly active users – where her candid wine review videos are popular with well-educated urban drinkers. She now has millions of fans and operates a successful wine club. A graduate of Brown University and Le Cordon Bleu, Wang’s influence has grown to the point where she now has a team of people to produce her attention-grabbing online Lady Penguin shows. The company has also branched into wine tastings and events, publishing wine guides, and operating a wine bar in Beijing’s Sanlitun district.
Fongyee Walker MW
Education is an influential segment of China’s wine scene, with The Wine & Spirit Trust (WSET) reporting mainland China as its major source of growth last academic year. Fongyee Walker, China’s first Master of Wine, is arguably Beijing’s most skilled wine educator. Since obtaining the prestigious MW qualification, Walker – who also holds a Cambridge PhD in Classical Chinese – has committed to advancing wine knowledge in China through her consultancy Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting. She co-founded the consultancy in 2007 with husband Edward Ragg. Dragon Phoenix was the first school in China to teach WSET Level 4 in a classroom setting. Walker, through her teaching, media articles, commentary, and social media accounts, is enhancing professionalism in the industry and promoting wine in China as an everyday pleasure rather than a luxury.
Shanghai-based wine writer, educator, and presenter Terry Xu has thousands of followers on WeChat and Weibo and is a regular columnist for Decanter’s China website. Xu – another in-demand educator – trained in China’s popular import market of Bordeaux and carries trainer certifications from six other wine regions and countries. The WSET diploma holder co-founded wine consultancy and marketing agency Aroma Republic and is passionate about promoting wine culture. Xu is positive about social media’s impact on wine culture but believes the spread of good content should extend beyond wine alone. “The Chinese are becoming more connected via social media than any other country in the world,” Xu said in an interview with WSET Global. “I believe we are now entering a second era of wine promotion on social media, where you find not only wine professionals on social media channels, but also the voices and views of many wine lovers and enthusiasts.”
Chufei Churan Twins
Web celebrities the Chufei Churan Twins have made the leap to promoting wine as a lifestyle and were recently engaged by Wine Australia for a journey to visit Australia’s wineries and tourist areas, all of which will be live-streamed to millions of followers (mainly females) on Tmall, Alibaba’s retail platform. The social media stars gained legions of fans by live-streaming their overseas holidays, high-end fashion and fine dining dinners to young, upper-middle-class Chinese women who also happen to be discovering and buying wine online.
Journalist, judge, and marketer Kent Tsang is editor-in-chief of The Black Wine Guide, the brainchild of wine critic and sommelier Jean-Marc Nolant. She was previously Chinese edition manager of Le Pan magazine and deputy editor and managing editor of WINE Magazine. Her new project publishes wine reviews and ratings of high-end wines for the luxury market in the tradition of Bettane+Desseauve’s Guide de Vins and La Revue du Vin de France, which has been published in Mandarin since 2011. To promote their tasting events, Tsang’s team has harnessed the power of social media, gaining 130,000 followers (natural) in just three days after it screened videos on Douyin, also known as TikTok, a platform that hosts entertaining, eye-catching user-generated photos and live stream videos.
Vinehoo.com’s managing director, Oliver Zhou, was the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition’s 2016 Young Communicator of the Year. He leads a team of trained wine writers and contributors to deliver popular, professional content. With official accounts on WeChat and Weibo, Vinehoo has produced innovative wine communications since 2008 and now has more than 300,000 monthly viewers. Zhou led the development of Vinehoo’s first online education program, first three-minute 2D animation video series and an integrated social media management program in mainland China. He also serves as the managing director of Vinehoo, which operates online retail store WineYun, and is a food and wine writer and translator.
Article by Kirsty Needham
Beijing: Australia will spend $5 million advertising to young Chinese urbanites to persuade them regional Australia isn’t dangerous and they should come despite the lack of free WiFi.
China is Australia’s biggest source of tourists and international students but there were fears last year these two important export industries could be damaged amid tension in diplomatic relations.
Chinese tourists are worth $11.5 billion a year to the economy.
A major tourism advertising campaign on billboards and metro stations in Chinese cities begins this week with colourful imagery of Australia’s natural scenery – plus a crocodile – and the slogan “Too Australian for words”.
Tourism Australia will pay $3.28 million, and tourism operators including Qantas will pay $1.78 million, for the advertising.
“Australia already has a strong affinity amongst Chinese travellers; however, we must continue to find new ways to appeal to the Chinese market,” said Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.
He said the fastest growing group of Chinese tourists were the “free and independent travellers” who are younger, more adventurous and stay three times longer than Chinese tourists on a group or package tour.
Whereas Chinese students tend to spend most of their time in the major Australian cities (88 per cent) and half of their spending goes towards education fees, the “free and independent travellers” or “FITS” are more likely to travel to regional Australia as well.
Australia was targeting this group to encourage them to make repeated visits to Australia, outside of peak Chinese holiday periods such as Chinese New Year.
But a report from Tourism Research Australia has highlighted some of the problems in getting this sector of Chinese tourists to regional Australia. Time (71 per cent) was the major constraint, followed by cost (32 per cent).
The research also found “a view entrenched by the experiences and attitudes of Chinese society that personal safety would be compromised in regional Australia”.
But the biggest complaint about regional Australia was the lack of free WiFi.
This had become a tourism marketing problem for Australia because half of this segment of Chinese Millennial travellers used social media, and more than a third used travel review sites, to plan their holidays.
“Lack of free WiFi in regional Australia is a significant barrier and limits opportunities to post real-time experiences,” the report concluded.
This group of Chinese travellers to Australia grew 18.8 per cent last year, as the overall number of Chinese visitors grew 5.5 per cent to reach a record 1.42 million. Ten airlines fly between Australia and China, with a potential 2.2 million inbound seats.
Mr Birmingham said Australia had been successful in attracting tour groups from China over the past decade but a new type of traveller was emerging as incomes rose.
“Chinese FITS are also more likely to stay three times longer than those on an organised group tour, which presents a great opportunity for Australia’s regional tourism offerings given the strong correlation between length of stay and likelihood to travel beyond Australia’s gateways and iconic attractions,” he said.
The long distances in regional Australia and lack of transport options were also identified as problems by the research report. Chinese state media agency Xinhua on Wednesday wrote about Australia’s lack of high-speed rail lines.
Thinking of the beauty industry in Australia, organic comes to mind. The industry is predominantly natural skin care and beauty brands as there is access to a variety of raw ingredients, extracted from plants and nuts.
Here are some of the hottest ingredients in Australian beauty products and see if you can spot them in your favourite brands.
- Rosehip oil from the Rosehip seed
- Jojoba oil from the Jojoba nut
- Green Tea Extract
- Caviar lime extract from the native Australian citrus fruit
Calendula, a medicinal plantImage Source: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo Calendula by Jamie Anderson: https://www.flickr.com/photos/160866001@N07
Not only do Australia’s cosmetic products contain natural and organic ingredients, they are also environmentally friendly as the industry phases out “almost all” microbeads from products, in the latest news reports. Microbeads are solid plastic particles found in products which often end up in water mains harming the environment, animals and even humans.