Why China leads the world in digital

Matthew Carlton

"China is 10 years ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to e-commerce and social media." That was the powerful opening gambit from Vincent Digonnet, Executive Chairman of Razorfish APAC during Advertising Week's 'How Brands Should Navigate Digital China' session. To help substantiate his point, Digonnet relayed information on the sheer scale of the digital industry in the country. Weibo – China's Twitter equivalent – has 500m subscribers, while Weixin's WeChat service boasts 600m users.

In 2013 $280bn was spent online, establishing China as the world's largest ecommerce nation – defying a McKinsey prediction that this would not happen until 2017. On Guanggun Jie, China's equivalent of Cyber Monday, a staggering $5.7bn was spent in a single day, six times more than its American counterpart.

"Social media marketing is still a small component of the overall marketing activities of brands in the West, whereas it is the backbone of any brand engagement in China" declared Digonnet. This, he claimed, is because all age groups use social media in China, unlike the West where it is dominated by under 25s, meaning those with purchasing power spend plenty of time on social media.

Social Hyperactivity