NEW YORK/BEIJING: Tencent, one of China’s three internet giants, has launched a new suite of advertising solutions and resources that will enable US marketers to directly engage Chinese consumers on its platforms, including 963m monthly active users of WeChat.

“To engage Chinese consumers, it is important to reach them on their preferred communications platforms,” said Poshu Yeung, Vice President of International Business at Tencent.

Chinese individuals spend more than half their mobile internet usage on Tencent platforms, which include QQ, Qzone, Tencent Video, and Tencent News as well as WeChat.

WeChat, launched in 2011, is often considered to be the benchmark for mobile messaging apps, driving the trend for mobile payment and pioneering “conversational commerce” via chatbots. (For more details, read WARC’s Best Practice paper: What we know about marketing on WeChat.)

“For the first time, we are making it possible for US brands to directly reach this audience through sophisticated targeting, not only in China but also when they travel to the US,” Yeung added.

Chinese outbound tourism is on the rise – 6m people are expected to travel abroad during this year’s Golden Week starting on October 1 with long-haul destinations like the US growing in popularity.

And while shopping may be dropping down their list of priorities, Chinese tourists still spent $35bn in the US last year, with data from the US Travel Association indicating that their average spending per trip is higher than of any other nationality.

“For US advertisers, China presents a dynamic, lucrative and challenging opportunity,” said Yeung, noting that brands have become more sophisticated about the needs and behaviors of Chinese tourists.

“To make a sale outside China, they understand that they need to speak to their customers before they even plan their trips.”

Kristen Esposito, Vice President of Tourism and Marketing Alliance at Simon Property Group, a mall operator that has been trialling the new service, noted that “China is projected to be the largest overseas inbound travel market to the US by 2021”.

“So the potential for growth is truly extraordinary,” she said.

Data sourced from Tencent; additional content by WARC staff