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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

2015 Predictions for Chinese Social Media

As 2014 saw China go mobile, 2015 is set to be an exciting time for not only digital media in China but also the technology that will change the way we use it. Mailman Group has compiled a list of predictions that will play a major role in developing the digital media landscape in China and how we will use it.

Large tech companies look abroad

Larger companies such as Tencent, Xiaomi and Baidu will follow Alibaba’s lead and look abroad for investment and IPO opportunities. During 2014, Alibaba acquired or invested in a substantial number of companies including domestic companies Kuaidi Dachi and Youku, and US companies Peel and Kabam.

Western media companies to venture into China

Don’t be surprised if 2015 is the year that we see more media companies trying to break into the Chinese content game. We saw Buzzfeed launch a WeChat account late last year, while Huffington Post launched in India. It should only be a matter of time before they look towards China as their next venture. Mailman Group launched a guide to Internet Pop Culture in China last year, which highlights the potential content landscape on offer for such companies.

Facebook, Twitter eye China – How will western media partner and thrive in China?

This year, Facebook and Twitter will continue to try and make inroads into the lucrative Chinese market. Twitter opened up a Hong Kong sales office late last year while Mark Zuckerberg addressed students in Chinese at Tsinghua University, Beijing. There are many roadblocks, the biggest being the Great Firewall of China, however, don’t be surprised to see these companies more and more in China this year.

Big Chinese companies take a stronger stance

We may see the big companies such as Sina and Tencent step up and undertake a divide and conquer type approach. Late last year, Sina Weibo silenced accounts that were promoting their WeChat accounts via Sina Weibo. Competition between Chinese social media platforms is fierce and this year we could see companies attempting to consolidate their audiences.

Say goodbye to your wallet, social media payments are the future

2015 may be the year that we begin to substitute our wallets for our phones, as social media and messenger apps move towards payment features. Payment options via messaging apps are already available on WeChat, Kakao Talk and Line but Facebook and Twitter also have payment services in the pipeline. These payment services will join other companies experimenting with checkout technologies, including ApplePay, Google Wallet and Alibaba’s Alipay. It’s safe to say there will be a large experimental period for both checkout technologies and peer-to-peer payments in 2015.

Expansion into wearable technology

2015 will be the year of wearable technology. The most anticipated product of this year is without a doubt Apple’s new ‘Apple Watch’. We can be sure to see everything from smart watches to smart clothing to smart eyewear begin to trickle into the market. Chinese company Baidu has also designed prototypes for smart eyewear and, more astonishingly, smart chopsticks that hope to promote food safety.

However, the challenge this year will be how can these products be reliably streamed with social media platforms and mobile devices. We have already seen Apple, Google and Microsoft make health tracking apps free, in an attempt to help users better understand their health data. Expect to see other companies fall in line as smart and wearable technology is set to become the next big consumer technology.

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