About this series

The WARC Spotlight China series focuses on a timely industry topic facing brands in the market. It comprises a capsule collection of commentary, tackling the topic from a range of angles. Contributors to the series are industry experts with first-hand knowledge of the market in focus, offering current on-ground insights to what’s working or developing.

The spotlight: DTC (Direct-To-Consumer) Disruptors

Yet another millennial-targeting, direct-to-consumer disrupter wannabe with cult-like followings…? Don’t brush them off. Legacy companies are taking notes as DTC brands seem to be outsmarting, outpacing, and outmaneuvering them. A new genre of digital-native, contemporary brands we refer to as “DTC disruptors” in China have quickly eroded market share from big brands in their respective categories. They have typically filled gaps in the market, are nimbler in their organization structures, more adaptive to China's constantly changing consumer preferences, sell through WeChat stores and private groups via intimate relationships, and glean more first-party data to increase loyalty. With more new waves of such contenders racing to meet consumer desires and proving to be attractive targets for venture capital (VC) funding, what key lessons can be learnt from their journeys for both aspiring upstarts and established incumbents?

More Spotlights


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The melee of leveraging influencers as a marketing strategy in China


The Economic Aftermath of 'Long COVID' (Chinese)

July 2022
Taking stock of China's state of marketing in the 'Long COVID' era


China's Covid Response (Chinese)

May 2022
A marketer's battle against the Omicron variant of COVID-19


China: Outbound (Chinese)

Feb 2022
Synergistic ideas for Chinese brands going global


From Omnichannel to Omnipresence

December 2021
Shows how brands can level up in the ‘new retail’ movement


DTC (Direct-To-Consumer) Disruptors

June 2021
Being fluid and innovative make DTC brands more than just fads

Culture-relevant marketing

Crafting Culture-Relevant Marketing

December 2020
The key to resonant marketing in China: cultural sensitivity

Growth equation

The changing growth equation in China

May 2023
Is it the end of the "demographic dividend"?