Growing Number of Businesses Are Leveraging WeChat Official Accounts in China

More businesses are leveraging WeChat official accounts – and more mobile users are following and interacting with that type of content, according to a new report by iiMedia Research (Note: Linked study is in Mandarin).

WeChat official accounts are a dedicated place for businesses to share content and interact with users. The research found there are more than 12 million WeChat official accounts, representing almost 50 percent growth over 2015. Business adoption of WeChat is expected to grow to 14.15 million by 2017, the data found.

(The above graphic shows the change in both the number of WeChat official accounts (orange bars) as well as the growth rate (red line))

Businesses are looking to reach buyers and audience on WeChat – and for good reason. The study found about half (52.3 percent) of internet users are accessing WeChat official accounts to keep up with the latest news.

In addition, WeChat official accounts are also used for learning purposes (26.5 percent) and making life easier/convenient (15.8 percent).

As far as content is concerned, the data shows that 60 percent of official accounts are updated frequently, but only 10 percent have loyal followings. Survey results found half of the respondents unsubscribe from official accounts because of duplication of content, 65.2 percent unsubscribe due to lack of content and 57.9 percent because of infrequent updates.

Researchers noted providing users with rich content and frequent updates are critical to getting (and retaining) audience attention.

The latest numbers from iiMedia Research also reported on the number of mobile users in China, which has grown to 725 million in China as of October 2016.

While the number of mobile users is still growing, the pace at which this group is increasing has slowed over the last two years. In early 2014, people were adopting mobile at a rate of about 2 percent each quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the growth rate is expected to be around 1.5 percent.

(In the above graphic, the blue line represents the growth rate of mobile users and the orange bars represent the number of mobile users in China)

iiMedia used its proprietary data tracing system for this report.

Users Spend Twice as Much Time on Mobile Apps vs. PCs

An iResearch report from earlier this year found China’s internet users are spending significantly more time on mobile apps than on PC web pages.

Users spent more than twice as much time on mobile devices per month, according to the report, which cited research from iUserTracker and mUserTracker.  As of the latest data (Dec. 2015), 27.4 percent of time was spent on PC web pages and 72.6 percent of time was on mobile devices.

In addition, researched anticipated the number of smartphones in use in China to grow 11.6 percent year over year and eclipse 1 billion by the end of 2016.

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