While France and China celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both countries, France has been using the opportunity to take up a major campaign to attract China’s high-spending tourists. As part of this effort, the French Embassy in China recently adopted the use of WeChat to build a 1:1 communication channel with its Chinese audience and promote France to WeChat’s 650 million users.
With 1.5 billion citizens and nearly 100 million overseas tourists, China has developed a highly specific digital ecosystem and communication tools. In order to take advantage of WeChat’s 500 million Chinese users that are logging a massive amount of daily activity, the French Embassy in China launched its official presence on WeChat on April 11.
Pushing the boundaries of a classic governmental communication, the French Embassy, helped by marketing agency Curiosity China, created a mini-site with active push notifications where China’s citizens can be informed on the visa process, cultural events, and news related to the country. Whether they’re going to France for study, work, or just to visit, the account helps users learn what kind of visa they need to apply for and which documents have to be provided. WeChat becomes a personal travel helper for visitors and tourists—and saves operations costs for such a large public organization. To help promote France to WeChat’s users, the French Ambassador to China released a welcome video on the account, and it was followed by several thousand members only a few hours after the official launch.
With countries all over the world vying for the attention of Chinese tourists, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the use of WeChat extend broadly to other public entities targeted at both Chinese and international audiences. Meanwhile, another French Embassy WeChat account in French is already planned to help the French community in China with their daily lives, with information on everything from where to find a doctor informations or school, to visa policy updates.