It’s clear that China represents the largest Internet market in the world, and now, China also has the largest base of smartphone and tablet users today. What is remains obscure, however, is the data for measuring and understanding this ecosystem. The lack of relevant cross-device measurement data for the Chinese Internet ecosystem has made it difficult to quantify audience demographics and size, measure performance, assess the competitive landscape, and efficiently target and engage users in China. This problem is substantial for both international and local Chinese companies.
Today, we are proud to announce that Verto Analytics has formed strategic partnership with iResearch, the leading Chinese Internet measurement provider, to deliver cross-device, audience measurement data to both fast-growing Chinese Internet companies and to U.S. and European companies. Together, we will set a higher standard for mobile and cross-platform measurement data worldwide.
The Rapid Rise of the Chinese Market
Up until the last five years, the purchasing power of the Chinese consumer was relatively low. Instead of buying personal computers, Chinese users went to Internet cafes. Personal device ownership in China was far behind the Western world. And, services like Google, Skype, and Amazon had slow adoption rates given the government regulation – which is still continuing. However, over the past 5 years much has changed.
Companies like Baidu and Alibaba built and grew their own China-focused services, and simultaneously, the rapid growth of smartphones and affordable mobile devices have given Chinese Internet patrons a way to rapidly access services. Today the Chinese Internet user, on average, owns 4.1 Internet-connected devices per person, while U.S. consumers own 4.6. The Chinese market has caught up, and in certain areas (e.g. use of messaging apps) has exceeded the US and Europe.
Further, a growing middle class has made China a hotspot for fashion, electronics, and many Western products and services, from baby care to McDonalds. Despite all this potential, many Western companies are finding it very difficult to fully capitalize on China’s commercial explosion. One of the key challenges has been the poor quality and unavailability of solid media measurement data on the level of what companies would use to assess a new market or vertical in the U.S. and Europe.
China Looks to the West and Vice Versa
Chinese services have evolved, and companies like Alibaba and Baidu are no longer replicating Western services but instead building their own unique solutions and services. For example, WeChat has been the most successful messaging service, and has many built-in features that Facebook Messenger is only now starting to adopt. Has the copycat mentality shifted from China to the U.S?
iQIYI is one of the fastest-growing mobile apps in China, and their growth continues at high pace. Launched in 2010, its is now the largest online video site in China, and its audience views 1.28 billion+ hours of TV shows and movies per month. The fact that the Chinese are consuming other types of entertainment, besides games, and the high quality titles licensed for the platform, has driven their user growth and engagement. iQIYI recently inked a deal with 20th Century Fox, bringing even more premium content to the platform. (China has become the biggest market for Hollywood movie exports). Like Netflix in the U.S., content is king.
Seeing the enormous growth and adoption rates, for many Western companies, China could represent a huge opportunity IF they could offer something in the market. For example, if Facebook or Google are reaching user saturation in the U.S., China could almost double their global mobile user base!
Insights to Benefit Both
The goal of Verto’s partnership with iResearch is to help brands, publishers, and advertisers take full advantage of the opportunities presented by China’s booming Internet industry. Further, because many Chinese companies such as Baidu and Alibaba, are also looking to expand into the U.S. and Europe, together we can serve them with better data and more accurate insights about the opportunities that may exist for investments, expansion, and partnerships.