Chinese Whispers: WeChat Is an “Aging” Social Media App

In “Chinese Whispers”, we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that haven’t yet made it into the English language.

In this week’s edition, we discuss:

  • WeChat’s changing demographics,
  • GQ China’s new editorial director, and
  • A Chinese company’s interest in acquiring French kidswear giant Kidiliz.
Photo: CACIT

Photo: CACIT

1. Is WeChat an Aging Social Media App? — April report by CAICT

China’s elder population has become the most frequent users of the country’s top social media app WeChat. According to an April report released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), one-third of Chinese seniors, those over 60, devoted more than 80 percent of their data traffic to the app, ranking first among all age groups. Younger groups, those under 18 and between 18-35, only spent 7.1 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, of their data on the app.

This finding is not uplifting news for luxury brands in China, many of which have recently rejuvenated their branding and product offerings in order to appeal to millennials. The aging of WeChat’s user profile also partially explains why the luxury brand visibility remains low on the app, as seniors, in general, have less knowledge and interest in following and reading about luxury brands.

Recommended ReadingBrand Visibility Remains a Real Challenge on WeChatBy Jessica Rapp
Photo: Conde Nast

Photo: Conde Nast

2. China’s GQ Style Appoints New Editorial Director — LadyMax

Condé Nast-owned men’s fashion magazine GQ Style China, aka Beijing Zhizu GQ, named its previous chief writer Zeng Ming as the new editorial director on May 4, reported Chinese fashion business publication LadyMax. Earlier nominee Du Zuye was not hired for “personal reasons”. New hire Zeng joined the magazine in 2014 and took over the position of Content Director in January 2016. The report said he would continue to facilitate the magazine’s digital transformation to better serve its broad audience.

The traditional fashion publishing industry in China is facing numerous challenges from the advent of social media, the coming of a new, younger audience, to rising content scrutiny from government censorship. In recent months, the industry has witnessed a huge leadership reshuffle with old players departing and new faces joining.

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

3.  Chinese Apparel Company Semir to Buy French Kidswear Giant Kidiliz — Fashion Network

Following the end of the One-Child Policy in 2015, the country’s kidswear industry seems to have a more promising future. Industry leaders, the Chinese clothing company Zhejiang Semir Garment on May 2 issued a statement that it had entered the final stages of merger talks with the French kids’ fashion group Kidiliz.

In 2016, childrenswear had the best performance within overall apparel category in China, according to Euromonitor’s report on children’s wear in China published in Feb 2017. The childrenswear industry increased by seven percent, in current value terms, to reach RMB 145 billion.