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Importance of Chinese Social Media

As one of the Chairman Mao’s widely quoted sentence, “Many hands make light work”. And this is certainty the case when it comes to social media in China.

China has the world’s biggest Internet user base of 513 million people, more than double of the 245 million users in the United States. However, this is done with no: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. Understanding the Chinese consumer’s decision is vital for a company as they are the world’s most active environment for social media.

For example,Wechat, a mobile voice and text application has over 100 million users, or consider Youku, which is the second largest video site in the world after YouTube. Taking a closer look at the data shows us the social media users’ behaviors in China, an example would be people in the Tier-1 city area, “People use social media as often as they breath” according to Lotus Ruan writer for Techinasia. According to Cindy Chiu, writer of, Understanding Social Media in China, “China’s social-media users not only are more active than those of any other country but also, in more than 80 percent of all cases, have multiple social-media accounts, primarily with local players”. It’s important to be able to stand out and craft a winning strategy when it comes to social media in China if you want your business to survive. That is, if for goal is only to survive, but who wants to survive when you can be successful.

To be successful you must make your content authentic and user oriented. What does that mean? A story. Cross-culturally people love stories, there is no more powerful way to convey a message than through the medium of a strong narrative. An example of this would be Estee Lauder’s Clinique who launched a drama series, Sufei’s Diary with a 40 episode broadcasted daily. While skin care was part of the story and the products were prominently featured, it was not an advertisement and was viewed more than 21 million times. Clinique’s online brand’s awareness grew 27 percent higher than their competitors. Another key principle for success would be maintaining your brand consistently cross-culturally. An example of this would be Starbucks who adopted various different products to meet the demands of their demographic, however, maintained their message of quality, social responsibility, and community building worldwide. Lastly, it’s important to be flexible and responded to the market. An example, of this would be Dove, they entered into China with a western mindset of promoting beauty in their social-media with real women rather than only models. This approach quickly failed as many of the Chinese consumers viewed the real woman as overweight and unattractive. Dove reconsidered their social-media campaign and partnered with a Chinese adaptation of a US television show and promoted their products through that narrative, which became very successful.

These are three examples, of hundreds of cases of different companies entering into the Chinese market, and failing, because they didn’t understand how to adopt through social-media and build a foundation of Chinese consumers.

Thomas Jordon Raybell

The situation

Brexit and its effects on fashion

Britain wants to leave the European Union. It’s been labeled Brexit, as Brexit backers argue that the E.U. creates burdensome regulations that have hurt British innovation and competitiveness. On the other side of the equation, this departure could send shock waves across the global economy and threaten more than a trillion dollars in investment and trade with the United States.

Thus, on the frontline of this situation is the United States as they are the single largest investor in Britain as some of Wall Street’s biggest names are donating substantial sums to keep them from leaving.

The pound has dropped at its lowest level since 1985 against the dollar while the euro has fallen 3.3% which is its biggest single day loss since its inception. This is not a simple issue as it will take at least two years for Britain to compete it’s complicated divorce from the EU, raising dozens of questions as London’s role as a global financial capital.

This effects the fashion industry as it contributes an estimated $38billion to the UK economy of 2014. Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas stated, “The most important consequence of ‘Brexit’ I think is a dent to global GDP prospects and damage to confidence”. She continues with, “More than ever, the industry will have to work on moderating costs and capital expenditure”.

Thomas Jordon Raybell

Impressions

I’m not really sure what I was expecting when it came to Chinese fashion designs. I would like to think I am more open minded than the typical, “Made in China” label would really translate to high fashion or have any relationship to it. I would assume many Chinese designers would been traditional, colorful, and very historical. Mainly, because of the history China has, and I’ve never viewed China as progressive in terms of  self-expression. From what I have heard, and seen, much of Chinese fashion is heavily on western brands. While I’ve been in China over the last week I’ve explored and really tried to step out of my own worldview and see China as who it is.

One designer, which I have really enjoyed with my search was Yiqing Yin, who presented her first collection at the Hyeres international Festival in 2010 and then after launched her own label. Her label is carried in stores like 10 coral Como in Milan and Joyce in China and Hong Kong. She was born in China and raised in Pairs, but what I really have enjoyed about her pieces are how they reinforce the woman’s silhouettes subtly, like a second skin. In 2014, Yin became the creative director of French brand Leonard, with her first ready-to-wear show. I feel like this type of fashion designer really challenges some assumptions many have of Chinese fashion at least for me. Some of the difference in her style, I think can be reflected in her education and growing up in pairs. However, she is one of the top designers in China as well as one the the newest.

In terms, of men’s fashion I have really come to enjoy Yang Li for a Chinese fashion designer. I feel like its an obvious guess for me to like him because he dropped out of school in the central Saint Martin’s in London to work for Raf Simons, who is one of my all time favorite designers. However, In 2011 Li launched hims own label which included men’s and women’s clothing as well as shoes. Currently, Li is based out of pairs and his collection are stocked by shops ranging from L’Eclaireur to Dover Street Market. After viewing some of his pieces I think its an easy guess to where and whom he studied under as his style often incorporates edgy punk-inspired details like slits and tab closures.

These two designers alone, really challenge many of the dispositions, which a typical American would think of when it comes to Chinese high fashion. “The field of fashion in China today has now opened up a ground of experimentation and possibility”. So notes Hung Huang in the “Oprah of China” in her foreword to Fashion China. “Made in China” is no longer synonymous with low-quality or mass-produced. Today these two designers are subverting that perception and truly finding their self expression in their fashion. The list doesn’t stop there, since I’ve been in China for about a week now, there are about 10 other designers that I believe really challenge many previous believed views of fashion in China.

Thomas Jordon Raybell