Yoram Kraus – How to make your app succeed in China
By Yoram Kraus, Infibond Co-Founder & CEO
Yoram Kraus is a serial entrepreneur, with several investments in high tech over the past decade. He has more than 20 years of entrepreneurship in real estate & global engineering projects, and is the founder of the second-largest REIT fund in Israel. He has a degree in Civil Engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, he served as an intelligence officer in the IDF special forces and is a keen mountaineer and extreme sportsman
China is leading the development of a mobile culture with their high standards of appearance and functionality, helping to explain why they have some of the highest mobile usage in the world. What can we learn from these technological innovators?
Streamlined for enhanced functionality
Integrated, multi-purpose apps with a wide range of convenient features accessed through a unified design, have become so popular with Chinese audiences that it is now virtually the expected norm.
Users favours a ‘hub’ approach to streamline their experience. Whether it’s paying bills or calling friends, they prefer it to all stem from one place, which is why Chinese firm Tencent’s WeChat is thriving.
Last year, the app reached 1 billion active monthly users and over 8 million businesses hold official accounts where users can follow them and interact.
It is the key ingredient for mobile commerce as it enables users to perform P2P transfers (peer-to-peer payments) and electronic payments (for utilities, bills etc) at their convenience. It is also an extremely cost-effective solution for businesses as they no longer need POS terminals (point-of-sale machines) and can instead accept payment via a business-to-consumer WeChat user transaction.
Chinese mobile messengers have various company accounts within the chat interface. This is used more frequently than company apps themselves. Users send text, voice, images and emojis to receive automated or personalized answers. In-chat news, special offers and upgrades offer monetization opportunities. It has proven to be a hugely successful and exemplary mobile app development model.
The use of QR codes is huge in China (unlike Russia & Europe), with more than $1.65 trillion of transactions processed using the codes last year; the equivalent of about a third of all mobile payments in China.
They are utilized to link to sites, add new users to contact lists and for site authorization. All major internet giants in China such as Alibaba, Baidu and Sina Weibo have added a built-in QR code reader to their own apps to easily connect their users to additional services and content via any mobile device, anytime, anywhere. They are most commonly used for purchases at grocery stores, billboards, train seats, paying utilities and for highlighting brands’ special offers.
When comparing app aesthetics between Western and Chinese mobile interfaces, it’s clear that Chinese apps favor a more dazzling layout with rich and complex layers. Whilst the Western approach is more minimalist, the Chinese audience would assume that a simple visual layout for an app would imply minimal and simple abilities and would not be popular.
Centre of mobile e-commerce
The streamlined nature of mobile apps lends itself to enhanced purchasing power, which helps to explain why e-commerce is bigger in China than anywhere else in the world. Last year, 50% of transactions ranging from trading stocks to depositing money, occurred on mobile compared to just over a fifth in the US and around a third in the UK.
So how did they get there? A large reason for the success for mobile commerce is that the Chinese customer purchase journey is not just about the sale; brands are now often incorporating virtual reality and 3D imagery across all touchpoints and channels to bring an element of entertainment to maximize customer engagement throughout.
Western companies are trying to emulate its success
Understanding the above formula in Chinese mobile user expectations is key to success if Western companies want to break into the Chinese market. Google is testing new strategies as it released its first mini program for WeChat- a game that draws parallels with ‘Guess My Sketch’. Once you use the QR code to scan the game, players are put into teams of friends and AI agents. This is astonishing as the very creator of Android (and Google Store) is using third-party Android app stores to distribute one of its products.
The Chinese market for mobile technology, including demands, expectations and experiences, is wildly different to that of Western cultures. Perhaps most importantly, there is a level of trust in mobile e-commerce in the market, due to an enhanced feeling of intimacy between business and consumer via their direct communication across WeChat and messenger bots.
To learn from China’s leadership in mobile e-commerce, businesses must build brand affinity first to ensure maximum user engagement and efficiency with mobile technology.
INFI’s technology is transforming the way that mobile apps engage users and personalize experiences on a granular level. Providing hyper-customized experience has the unparalleled power to increase feelings of trust and brand affinity, which in turn supercharges ongoing engagement and loyalty. Our technology can even adapt itself to the cultural norms and geographic contexts of over 30 countries!