Steven Chang, who as Corporate Vice-President at Tencent leads the company's online advertising and media sales division, told an audience at the recent Adweek Asia conference that China is just getting started. (For more details, read WARC's exclusive report: "Advertising beyond imagination": China emerges as a trailblazer in mobile marketing.)
"We have around 730m netizens in China," Chang noted, "and yet it's only half of the population of China. So we have still room (to grow). 91% of them use mobile. This is very important and very unique in China, compared to other markets."
For Tencent, the company's early dominance in the market has led to 55% of all online time in China being spent on a Tencent app, Chang revealed.
The success of WeChat cannot be understated: with 940m mobile-exclusive users each month, including 100m outside mainland China, the app's integration of food delivery, ride-hailing, payment and ecommerce services has been crucial for brands.
The platform's integration of both commercial offerings and social media has allowed up to 70% of consumers to shop through social media, Chang claimed.
"Social commerce in China is huge because of ease of mobile payments, and because of the influence and reach of social media," he added.
Elsewhere, the service has become a central pillar of luxury brand campaigns, with brands such as Burberry using Tencent's platforms as a live broadcast medium.
"Live broadcast has become so popular in China in the last few years. We used WeChat as a platform – we basically broadcast Burberry's show at London Fashion Week through WeChat," Chang said.
Meanwhile, L'Oréal used paid media through WeChat's newsfeed apps to drive 130m impressions in a single day during the Cannes Film Festival. With a personal voice invitation from Fan Bingbing, a Chinese actress and brand spokesperson, the brand reached number one on China's social index.
Overall, L'Oréal's ecommerce sales improved 454% during the campaign, which Chang described as "stunning".
For Tencent, the possibilities for brands will arrive when they begin to share and work with the platform, "not just pure advertising. No more banner ads… Advertising beyond your imagination. Just think about it," Chang said.
Data sourced from WARC