Wechat – the new way to live

Wechat is the most popular messaging app in China with monthly active users (MAUs) to 500 million.

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Image source: https://www.techinasia.com/wechat-leaps-banking-lets-users-set-online-investment-fund/

Arising after the microblog website Weibo, Wechat has created a social messaging network platform aimed at closed communities such as friends circles and offers competitive features such as hold to talk, sharing moments and group chat.

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Image source: http://wearesocial.net/tag/wechat/

How does Wechat take further steps to make continuous growth of popularity and profit in a competitive social media landscape?

Opening public account services for companies, media outlets and retailers to provide new marketing tools to advertise and promote their service and products is an important start. Subscripting an account, users interact with the content and share easily with contacts, group chats or moments.

Further more, Wechat has developed an extendable transactional platform by taking advantage of innovative QR code. Consumers hit the purchase button and choose Wechat payment to book hotels, order taxis, and buy air tickets.

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Image source: http://www.trutower.com/2014/07/16/wechat-easy-taxi-booking-alliance-launched/

Entering into banking services, Wechat launched “virtual red envelop” activities, based on social networking and mobile payment technologies, allowing companies to send money, vouchers or gifts to attract users to grabbing the red envelop. This win-win strategy brings mobility, convenience and participation.

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When CCTV launched “red envelop” activity through Wechat and attracted the biggest ever audience to its annual Chinese New Year celebration TV program, Wechat took its massive success to a peak.

Wechat has changed every aspect of Chinese life enormously. What’s the next move of Wechat? How it will change business and consumer’s behaviours and affect commerce, finance and lifestyle?

Sponsored content- journalism becomes another product/service to sell!

Once news go live via news websites, blogs or twitters, journalism faces challenges in a digital age as traditional media confront rivers of gold lost .

Another form of media called “sponsored content”  now appears more than ever. Will this a short-term financial incentive save journalism at the cost of trust and reputation? Or could it create a virtual circle of business model to enable journalism to adapt to the new digital era?

It is very common to read the travel diary, feature writing and life style articles from the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), sponsored by travel agencies, or health organisations.

SMH has achieved the highest trust of readers, with 71%, compared with The Telegraph at the bottom with 48%, a 2013 report said. The survey shows SMH trust has not been lost by using sponsored journalism.

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Image source: http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/12/18/trust-in-media-abc-still-leads-telegraph-takes-a-hit/

Of course, journalists writing sponsored content are prone to write more positively about the company/organisation who pays for the service, compromising the objectivity of the journalist. However, when choosing reputable clients, they can use professional skills to inform the public with insightful information and share interesting stories. On the other hand, advertising usually spends money wisely to ensure their product/service reaches more audience in a more acceptable way.

Journalism needs funding to survive, like any other industry. if not government funding, they have to sell their product (content) and service (skills) to survive.

The questions is how you can sell it smartly and ethically to make an ecosystem landscape?

Firstly, by being transparent. You must declaim its sponsored content and write it professionally and truthfully, and you should let the reader make the judgement.
Secondly, sponsored content should be restricted to certain sections, such as travel and lifestyle, and keep the sections separate. Try not to confuse the readers.