The Mobile Phone is China’s Automobile Moment

“100 years ago, the automobile became a symbol of the American industrial revolution. Today, mobile internet is transforming how and where people work, live, interact and consume in China,” said Mr. Lau, President of Tencent Online Media Group and Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent Holdings, SY Lau.

“With the largest internet user base and the largest number of mobile netizens in the world, China is now pushing boundaries and leading change at the front lines of the global mobile internet adoption. China has overtaken the US across multiple mobile growth metrics, in terms of the number of mobile internet users, mobile penetration and access to social media. Driven by government policies that ensure fast development towards 4G infrastructure, a growing ecosystem of new software applications and innovation advancements that drive down technology cost, the Mobile market in China is set to boom.”

Not just a Business Extension but a Disruptive Technology

“Mobile has overtaken PC Internet, TV, Print and Radio as the most important media, with consumers in China spending over 40 percent of their time on the platform. Businesses need to realize that Mobile is not just an extension of business as usual, but is disrupting how and where people work, live, interact and consume. We need to break away from traditional approaches to business and marketing and adopt a fresh perspective when developing new products and services,” Mr. Lau said.

Mobile has also taken on an integral role in the consumer’s purchase process as a decision-making tool, with nearly 50 percent of Chinese mobile internet users using the platform to search for dining and entertainment information to support their purchase decisions. This demand has in turn driven the development of mobile lifestyle applications, such as DidiDache – a leading taxi service app in China, which meet consumers’ lifestyle needs.

The pervasiveness of mobile technologies has also changed consumers’ payment notions. Mr. Lau said that Chinese consumers are now increasingly adopting mobile payment due to the convenience of technologies such as QR-codes, and in the process, changing their traditionally conservative attitudes towards payment methods.

Three Emerging Key Trends in Mobile Marketing

A senior business leader at Tencent, Asia’s biggest internet company, Mr. Lau oversees the company’s business related to news portal, video site and Tencent microblog. In his speech, Mr. Lau also discussed how marketing needs to evolve amidst these changes to focus on being an enabler, with a focus on creating new cash points, to stay relevant and agile in responding to consumers throughout the buying cycle as distribution becomes increasingly decentralized.

Mobile technologies have altered the way people connect with information, people and businesses. It is disrupting the way they live and changing the role of marketing. With growing demand for utility-based mobile services, brands need to go beyond simply persuading consumers to purchase a product and instead take on the role as supporters and enablers by providing purchase recommendations and offering a range of services. With advancements in data analytics, marketers can gain deeper insights over consumer behavior and tailor their content according to the consumer’s age, gender and even environment.

Mr. Lau highlighted that mobile has also altered the buying cycle, opening new opportunities for closed-loop marketing. As mobile continues its growth, the role of media in marketing is shifting from being simply a channel for consumer touch-points to creating new cash points across the buying cycle. In China, Tencent launched a campaign with Mercedes-Benz to offer automobile sales through Weixin (the Chinese brand of the WeChat mobile app). In 3 minutes, 388 Smart cars were sold, 1,751 down payments were made and 6,677 sales queries were received. With consumers using mobile internet as a dominant source of information in their purchase decisions, Mobile technologies enable marketers to gather real-time information and intervene content distribution channels to drive faster purchase cycles.

At the same time, consumers are expecting tailored marketing content that cater to their personal preferences without intruding into their personal privacy. With the rise of omni-channel retailing, customers are looking for access to personal, consistent and convenient shopping experiences across multiple platforms. As a result, content distribution is becoming increasingly decentralized. Companies need to build their infrastructure and capabilities for greater agility to respond to real-time, mass-customization demands.

Mr. Lau commented, “Business leaders and marketers need to embrace the changes and tap into new opportunities that are emerging in the mobile revolution. The road ahead is not without challenges, but the opportunity for business growth is greater than the risks of ignoring the rising generation of digital natives that are living in a new Mobile age.”

Tencent was recently ranked by BrandZ as the world’s fastest growing brand in the world, represented by a 97 percent improvement in brand value. Tencent also tops the charts as the most valuable brand within Asia.

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