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China Digital Digest Weekly: Exploring the Chinese Digital Landscape

Hi folks, we are back with our weekly edition of China’s Digital Digest, wherein we bring you weekly updates on China’s digital space. The report takes a quick glance at China’s complex and rapidly evolving social media landscape by providing updates on the latest happenings across the social media industry. Here are the major highlights of the report.


1. Alibaba.Com Targets TikTok’s Chinese Merchants After Regulations Force Change



Alibaba.com, the international online wholesale arm of Alibaba Group Holding, is trying to woo merchants from ByteDance-owned TikTok who sell in Southeast Asia after the short video app was forced to suspend e-commerce activities in Indonesia.



Alibaba.com, the B2B platform created by Alibaba in 1999, said in a statement that it has launched S Plan, which offers “traffic flow, operations and logistics” support to those merchants affected by the Indonesia rule change. Under the plan, Alibaba.com offers a “one-button relocation” service for merchants to open new stores on Alibaba.com and to move their online presence, including translation and smart-sorting tools. However, Alibaba.com made no reference to TikTok in its statement.


2. JD.Com Brings 4-Hour Delivery to Hong Kong In Battle With Alibaba



The logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com is introducing four-hour express delivery in Hong Kong, the Beijing-based company said, as it races to gain ground in the key logistics hub against Cainiao, its major competitor affiliated with Alibaba Group Holding.



The new services under the JD Express programme will also include free door-to-door delivery in Hong Kong and Macau, with evening delivery hours in Hong Kong extended to 10pm. Macau customers can receive parcels shipped within the city as early as the next morning after placing an order, the company said.


3. Alibaba Prepares for Singles’ Day Price War As Sales Slow In China



Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao & Tmall Group is defending its dominance in China’s e-commerce market by offering consumers massive rebates and discounts during this year’s Singles’ Day shopping season, putting a brave face on a price competition against rivals JD.com and Pinduoduo.



Taobao Live is handing out 1 billion yuan (US$137 million) worth of cash coupons from October 12 to 23, ahead of the start of the sales season later this month, according to a statement by the live-streaming platform operated by Alibaba’s e-commerce unit, which is battling short-video apps Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, and Kuaishou. Meanwhile, JD.com will start its Singles’ Day promotion at 8pm on October 23. Themed “real cheap”, the event will see more than 800 million products go on sale until November 13, the company said.


4. Baidu Unveils Mini Metaverse for Virtual Human Du Xiaoxiao



Ahead of the Baidu World 2023 conference, Baidu has revealed Baidu Xiao Universe, a metaverse-like mini ‘virtual space’ where the users can interact with Baidu’s AI-powered digital human Du Xiaoxiao. Built in collaboration with Shenzhen-based tech start-up Lingjing Zhiwei, the ‘mini space’ is a ‘digital amusement park’ that incorporates digital technology, entertainment and social functions.



With Du Xiaoxiao as their guide, the visitors can complete mini tasks and ‘unlock more computing power’ to enable more features, watch an AI-generated music video featuring Du Xiaoxiao, interact with branded content such as a quiz and socialise with each other. The mini space showcases possibilities for a ‘small and beautiful’ branded space with interactive and community features.


5. Taobao Opens WeChat QR Code Payment Function for Some Users



Some netizens have recently reported that the Taobao payment page has an option for ‘WeChat QR code payment’. In fact, this feature has been tested for a long time, but currently it is still only available to some users.



The official response from Taobao states that the WeChat QR code payment function is still gradually being rolled out. Currently, it is only available to some users and only certain products support this payment method. Whether or not it can be used depends on what is displayed on the page. According to the introduction, the WeChat QR code payment process is that users save the QR code and then use WeChat’s ‘Scan’ function to make payments. Taobao customer service stated that this feature ‘may also become popular in the future.’


6. TikTok Announces New Partnership With Disney



TikTok and Disney have announced a new partnership to celebrate The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary.



Focused on a first-of-its-kind content hub, spanning four weeks (October 16th to November 13th) and involving 24 regions around the world, this partnership will allow users to watch videos from Disney's various brands, including Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, ESPN, National Geographic, and Disney Parks. Also, users will be able to create their own TikToks using Disney music and effects and participate in daily Disney trivia. TikTok says that it hosts more than 48 Disney-affiliated channels, which will all be participating in the 4-week activation.


Wrapping Up

The vast and diverse nature of the Chinese Social Media space makes it incredibly challenging to keep a tab on the rapid developments taking place. However, China’s Digital Digest brings you all the latest updates from there to keep you abreast of all the evolving trends.


To delve deeper into the findings of the October report, click here.

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