While presence is a big deal in China, beauty and photo editing apps are all the rage in the country. In addition, Chinese women are the major users of mobile applications, especially in the region. She is also one of those people who take selfies on social media every day.
These applications are an opportunity for beauty and fashion brands etc. to promote their products through various tools available in the market.
Digital: A Logical Evolution in the Customs of Chinese Society
It’s confusing to see how much the internet and technological devices transform our lives. In a few decades, consumer behavior has changed, particularly with the integration of connected goods into our buying process. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the business environment around them.
In China, the digital sector takes a very important place on a daily basis. It has become a set of digital ecosystem adopted by all and used in everyday life to learn, share, buy…
The cult of beauty and appearance reigned exclusively in the Middle Kingdom. More and more women are resorting to various tools to meet certain beauty standards: pale complexion, unclogged eyes, smooth skin, V-shaped face. It is therefore not surprising that appearance has become a de facto occupation that is particularly reported in China as it generally defines social status.
So the business of Chinese mobile application was naturally done with WeChat, which is the number 1 application in China. Remember, we have already written some articles about Chinese Super App like on Webmarketing & Co (here and here).
For luxury and beauty brands, these mobile applications are an effective way to reach their target customers digitally and develop their notoriety and brand image in the country. Some brands like L’Oréal are already navigating this new trend.
Connected fashion and beauty in China
More than 700 million Chinese connect through their smartphones and use mobile applications. For example, photo editing is an application that most of them generally use to be able to appear in their best light.
Professor Yu Feng of Jiaotong University explains that “Chinese society has moved from face-to-face communication to communication mainly through the Internet. Appearance is as important as the actual body”.
To help you better understand the Chinese digital universe, here are five beauty applications primarily used in China. Plus, you’ll understand how some brands are already using these advertising opportunities to promote their products.
Meitu, which means “beautiful pictures” in Chinese, is an application used by more than 450 million Chinese people. It is already worth over $4 billion and is considered to be the leader app in the country.
This photo editing application corrects physical imperfections and provides a real virtual makeup look. MeToo also lets you edit image filters like Instagram and add stickers via Snapchat. What is its strength is, as stated earlier, a facial correction tool that allows for example to enlarge the eyes, lighten the complexion, whiten teeth, etc.
The company also offers several other applications similar to MeToo such as Meetupic, Meipai, Selfiecity, Beautycam, BeautyPlus, BeautyPlusMe, AirBrush and MakeupPlus, which are already installed on over a billion smartphones worldwide.
Thanks to the hashtag #FacesOfFashion, the intercultural campaign organized by Meitu has been a huge success in China. Indeed, the goal of the campaign was to provide international content related to fashion and beauty to Chinese Internet users, allowing the creation of mini videos and clips. It was thus possible to follow men’s collections in London, including interviews with fashion influencers such as David Gandy or Eva Herzigova and going behind the scenes of the event.
Meitu, thanks to this campaign, has managed to reach over 100 million users and even plans to develop the concept in other cities such as Paris, Milan or New York.
2. Makeup Plus
Makeup Plus is one of the features offered by the Meitu company. However, the application goes further in its photo editing as it offers a whole new photo editing experience: the integration of luxury products.
Thanks to its augmented reality system, the app automatically detects a face to offer a makeup palette.
This innovation allowed various high-end and luxury product brands to jump at the opportunity to promote their product through the application. When editing a photo, it’s possible to choose between multiple makeup products from different brands, such as Lancme, Clinique, Yves Saint Laurent, Clarins, or The Face Shop, a new way to showcase the product and try it out. To go even further, after creating a photo, the application offers to actually buy the product(s).
Another promotional campaign that has worked great for the company is a collaboration with South Korean beauty influencer Pony, which offered makeup tutorials and livestreams via Makeup Plus. The campaign allowed Meetu to create over 730 million selfies using makeup done by the thinker Pony.
Tian Tian Pi Tu, which means everyday Photoshop photos in Chinese, is a beauty app developed by Tencent, one of the three Chinese Internet giants. Launched in 2014, the application currently does not offer any innovation as compared to its competitors and is similar to the applications already in the market. As of now, its number of users is just over 105 million.
However, the development of this application should be closely watched considering the company that developed it. Actually, Tencent is the company that develops WeChat and QQ. WeChat is well known in China and used by a large number of Chinese, allowing the WeChat application to be considered as a complete and integrated digital ecosystem. Its database can allow the development of the application.
The Bulgari brand has partnered with the app to promote its new collection of sunglasses. Thanks to stickers representing all the glasses in the collection, it was possible to try them on for example. And in just three days lakhs of Pitu users have tried this new feature.
Unlike other applications, it focuses more specifically on the social dimension. Users can video chat and make chatting more fun by playing with effects and stickers.
The application mainly targets young women in the age group of 15 to 35 years. Launched in 2016, it has a community of 250 million users a year.
FaceU promotes the Michael Kors handbag collection in collaboration with WeChat. Operation of the campaign was very simple: participants had to apply stickers created specifically for the brand to their selfies and distribute these photos to their WeChat news feed. As a contest, the campaign allowed the participant to win a brand or a bag of perfume.
This application is one of the pioneers in the beauty mobile application market. She has over 200 million users on her account, taking a few million selfies daily. The application offers in addition to over 200 filters, effects and stickers.
Camera360 is the application chosen by many foreign actors for the promotion of shows and movies.
Spielberg, for example, to promote his film The Good Fat Giant, approached the application to promote it in the Chinese market. Using the Augmented Reality feature, users were able to scan movie posters at various locations and get to win multiple movie gifts.
Importance of digital in brand promotion
The digital dimension plays an important role in Chinese society and brands have embraced it very well. A brand’s reputation and its image are two important aspects in the Chinese market. So for any growth it is an essential element for any growth to unite the consumers around the brand with the help of communities.
Tribe, social movement, subculture, community are terms that emerged in marketing as part of a paradigm shift emphasizing the identity, social and cultural aspects of consumer behavior. Brand community allows for the cohesion of a group of people and collective action towards a brand to share their consumption experiences.
To increase its activity in the Chinese market, a foreign fashion or beauty brand must establish a quality communication strategy, including a strong presence on digital channels. Although, for the time being, understanding the digital dimension remains the main weakness of foreign players, one of the most effective solutions is to join forces with a local partner.