Apps BAT China Digital Business Mobile

We tried Starbucks innovative social gifting through WeChat

A new discovery to the WeChat wallet is the innovative concept of social gifting, implemented by coffee industry leaders, Starbucks.Now people can chat, pay, order a taxi and offer a drink on a single application, WeChat. Where as in the US, consumers use four different apps; Uber, WhatsApp, Apple Pay and Starbucks Apps, for the same results.We are living in an era of integration and aggregation of businesses and this new social gifting feature is a great example of the impact the app has on 020. Starbucks mini-app featured in WeChat Wallet


Check how the 765 million (01/2017) daily users of WeChat can buy & offer a Starbucks today in China, with this short video:PGlmcmFtZSBoZWlnaHQ9NDk4IHdpZHRoPTUxMCBzcmM9J2h0dHA6Ly9wbGF5ZXIueW91a3UuY29tL2VtYmVkL1hNall3T1RFNU56TTRNQT09JyBmcmFtZWJvcmRlcj0wICdhbGxvd2Z1bGxzY3JlZW4nPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==


‘用星说’ -Say it with Starbucks-, released on February 10-10, 2017 on Weixin (WeChat). The launch of this feature has matched with user service requirements. As of now, users are easily able to gift fellow friends and family a Starbucks coffee instead of sending Hongbaos. It is a temporary campaign but has already had a significant affect on how we use mobile phones tomorrow.’By leveraging the power and reach of Weixin, we want to encourage everyday simple acts of kindness to put a smile on someone’s face at any time or place, while elevating the unique Starbucks Experience beyond our retail stores in China'

That social gifting experience was set to be temporary since the beginning, and specially launched for Valentine’s day. WeChat may continue doing that kind of innovations regularly and test how it’s adopted. They might do it 2-3 times a year according to Matthew Brennan, co-founder of China Channel & WeChat expert. By now this is mainly seen as a communication method from people who are evolved in the WeChat environment. Despite the lack of information concerning the results of this campaign, WeChat experts predict it’s more likely to be a success.Why is that a big thing?

  • Non aggressive strategy: no subscription, no messages, no accounts
  • Intimate sphere of your phone: chat log and money

  • Solution to gift through a platform with a convenient feature.
  • User’s journey is fully integrated in WeChat: no need to switch apps.

  • First time you may have a thoughtful gift for someone within a Chat App.

  • Given though the results are undetermined there is a good projection for this app being a success.
  • Let’s see how many campaigns WeChat will launch.

The Mobile’s place in O2OThis is the first time that a non-Chinese company integrates the WeChat Wallet. On which there are only 9 services offered by a third party operator, from which we can cite the famous Didi Chuxing, the murderer of Uber in China.

By being integrated into the WeChat Wallet you have an opportunity of a life time.The brand can now activate sales indirectly. As a third party customer can receive a gift coupon of his phone.

Coupons in China are very popular. It’s very common to be member of ‘coupons sharing’ groups on WeChat. After buying some food on (饿了么) for example, you can share on social media your receipt and people can get coupons from it. Starbucks is also working with Tencent to use this coupon feature. An other way to empower O2O.Online-to-offline (O2O) is a valuable approach to support efforts done by Starbucks to expand in China. Thanks to the penetration rate of mobile usage in the Chinese population, O2O is a major trend  for multinationals in China. Let’s remember that China opens a new Starbucks every day for the upcoming 5 years. Which transcribes it’s desire to increase its customers base. WeChat is by now a great way to enlarge the scope of potential customers, and increase Starbucks customer base!Tencent & Starbucks strategic partnershipTencent has the technology, while Starbucks has the brand notoriety and a wide customer base. Their strategic partnership is composed of 3 main points:

  • Loyalty program with WeChat. Ability for Starbucks to access the coupons interface on WeChat.
  • Implement WePay in Starbucks shops
  • Virtual Barista

On the short term it appears very clearly that Starbucks and Tencent are enjoying great returns from this partnership. But as always when dealing with the GAFABAT, it is important to find a balance with your independence towards partners. We truly believe in the growing importance of this issue, where the CDO will more likely be a great wall against the influence of digital champions.China is a success for Starbucks, they realized early that they had to make it their second biggest market, and fully developed a strategy for the Chinese market. Also they are proving their knowledge in the importance of public relations, by having good relations with government and major actors. As an example they established a massive business by partnering with DisneyLand Shanghai.

It is very exiting to try and discover all these new features in China. We wait impatiently for the new innovations to come on WeChat Wallet. Today more than ever they definitely stand as first mover.Written by Etienne Serres & Xavier Germain.

BAT China eCommerce FrenchTech GAFABAT MBADMB platforms

Challenges of E-Commerce in China with Thibault Villet

La French Tech Shanghai invited Thibault Villet, co-founder of a famous Chinese e-commerce platform, to share his experience on Chinese e-commerce and how he experienced 11/11 (single’s day). is a Chinese platform doing flash sales for luxury and fashion goods, from high-end brands such as Armani, Michael Kors or Lancôme. Founded in 2010 by Thibault Villet, it became the largest flash sales and discount platform for luxury & fashion goods in China.

That position interested several actors, and the king of the kings #Alibaba, invested 100 millions USD in 2015. (Reuters, 2017) Home Page – Jan 2017

A Win-win Partnership with Alibaba

They established a partnership to help Mei enter the Alibaba ecosystem, and increase its user base, product offerings, logistics & IT infrastructure. In return, Alibaba could learn from the expertise of with luxury, and help upgrading the Tmall image and content towards a more high-end platform. Sophie Marceau
Sophie Marceau

The capacity Alibaba has to leverage big data boosted Concretely, it resulted in amazing changes on the conversion rate and targeting the traffic. Underlining one method from several: they determined the data profile of Mei customers, and then they go look for customers that answered the same characteristics in the Alibaba database.

11.11 never participated to 11.11 before. For the first time, in 2016, they participated and did x4 more sales yoy. They took this decision based on two factors, first their partnership with Alibaba, and second the changing nature of 11.11 itself.

Thibault Villet

“11.11 is switching from a pure shopping event, to an event to limited edition, curated and evenmential products ” – Thibault Villet

In fact, they believe that 11.11 is switching from a pure discount event, to a curated event with
great content. It is a perspective that fits more to their industry.

What strategy for the future?

Stage Fashion Show
The stage fashion show, with Olivia Palermo shifted from selling products to inspiring customers with creative content. In this purpose they hired people from magazines like Vogue and plan to create great content. Then they bring the content to the products. Parallel to this, they stopped doing social media activation, to start branding on social media.

“The experience will play a major role in the future” – Thibault Villet

For example, they enhanced the experience by mastering live streaming. In January 2017, they went to Milan, livestream the fashion week. Furthermore Alibaba and Mei unveiled a new flash channel, with the TMALL fashion show, where people could watch the show in live and buy the articles in live. Millions of customers watched it. (Marketwire, 2017)

“In other countries eCommerce is a way to shop, in China it is a lifestyle. – Jack Ma

People can watch a fashion show live on their phones, on the metro, and buy instantaneously the products. You don’t go on Tmall app just to buy something, you almost go there as many times as westerners go on Facebook. There are so many functionalities, and variety of content that it creates a rich experience for the customer.

For more information concerning I recommend this interview of Thibault Villet done in November 2016.

A Chinese digital ecosystem

China has a very rich and particular ecosystem, and there is really a feel of advance in many fields. set for an event an immersive VR (virtual reality) experience to enable customers to explore their own style. In February 2016, Thibault Villet said that WePay represented 10% of sales in China, and easy to guess in which direction its going. Furthermore in the beauty & fashion market there is a multiplication of the categories of customers (10) what makes it even more complex in such a rich ecosystem. This complexity creates opportunity.

We are living exiting moments, in a world that never innovated that fast. As a Silicon Valley celebrity once said: ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’.




Marketwire. (2017). & Alibaba Launch the TMALL Luxury Flash-Sale Channel With Star-Studded Live-Streamed Fashion Show. Available at: .

Chan, I. (2017). Exclusive Interview: Thibault Villet, Co-Founder and CEO of Luxury Society. Available at: .

Marketwire. (2017). & Alibaba Launch the TMALL Luxury Flash-Sale Channel With Star-Studded Live-Streamed Fashion Show. Available at: .

China Digital Business Life in China Publication Uncategorized

DMB Shanghai Breaking News

‘The sky is high, and the emperor is far away’ Chinese proverb

We are almost at the end of November, cold and grey weather has arrived, which embraces Shanghai in a winter atmosphere. At the same time, the DMB students are having many projects to work on, to be sure that our brains don’t freeze! Here we go for a short overview:

‘How to address Chinese Consumers traveling overseas’

We declined that problematic for luxury brands, such as Panerai, Eve Lom, or Ralph Lauren. We made our research on understanding the Chinese Consumers behavior when traveling, their profiles and respective habits & values.

Every team worked on digitizing the customers journey. For example, by implementing QR codes in stores, by promoting adapted content in different channels such as WeChat (800 millions of Chinese users). We discovered so many possibilities, from Beacons to Chatbots, to empower traditional activities with technologies.

In a nutshell: We talked about VR experience for jewelry, holograms for watches, WeChat for CRM, and the importance of KOL in the Chinese market. Ralph Lauren team focused on the Japanese destination. How a WeChat brand account would look likeHow your Brand account would look like on WeChat Holograms can provide a great test&try experience
Business Development in China

We are in Shanghai creating the bridge between the Occidental and Chinese Digital world. Therefore, we need to understand Chinese world.

1- We started our writing lessons and speaking Chinese. In order to deeply understand the Chinese culture.

2- Classes about dealing with ‘Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics’. To understand how concretely business is running here, taught by: Sir Zhao Wei.

In a nutshell:

1978 Deng XIAOPING, starts the Chinese Economic Reform, from a planned economy to market economy. The beginning of a long and irregular progression.
Chinese culture is collective. Group orientated compared to western culture, far more individual what impacts all social codes and rules.

Yes, we are almost billingualThe table bellow shows how different the Western and Chinese culture can be different. Fat pigs get eaten vs fat pigs get promotion. Differences between Western and Chinese deal-making & disputing culturesJunior Consulting Project

All along our semester, we have a consulting survey to do, concerning a digital professional project. We are several teams, working for Axa, Somfy, HUB institute, Fred&Farid and Equancy.

All the projects are digital oriented and concern actual trends. The Axa team is working on understanding the Chinese millennials and their new ways of consuming.
For Somfy it’s about developing the e-commerce strategy of a smart home product in China. Hub Institute team will manage the organization of the stand at the CES Asia convention in June.

Last big News: We are #WSC

We are Wu Song Clan! Each class of the MBA DMB had to choose a representative name. So why Wu Song Clan? In reference to our campus location in Shanghai “Wu Song Road” and the famous “Wu Tang Clan” group. Just Wu Song Clan it! What happened while we were drinking working on these projects:

Alibaba did a 17,8 billion sales in 24h. WeChat announces the launch of MiniApps, empowering their platform and disrupting the AppStore. Ctrip bought Skyscanner and goes international. Click edit button to change this text. Click edit button to change this text.

BAT Digital Business eCommerce GAFABAT Mobile

Mobile payment in China

Recently astonished by a digital action I’ve taken last week, I decided to share it with you dear visitor. As a matter of facts it really changed my everyday life here in China.

Imagine a freshly arrived International student in Shanghai. Defined in his country of origin as being part of the ‘connected generation’ and aware about digital tendencies. Now imagine that same person receiving a huge slap in his face after experiencing a payment with his mobile in China. How could it be, right? Here we go!

Let’s start with a short reminder of the basics

Concretely mobile payment is paying through your mobile. Many apps, such as WeChat or Alipay are providing this service. Also major smartphones companies are integrating this mobile payment into their phones; such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

Where is this money coming from?

First, you send your money from your credit card to your app, as an online payment. You just transferred money, from your card, to the app on your phone.
It gets interesting because you empower your money with the functionalities that digital offers: traceability, immediacy, security, dematerialization etc.

About the Actors

In China there was one main actor in the mobile payment: Alipay, developed by AliBaba. But since 2014, WeChat, developed by Tencent, integrates WeChat Pay (32% market share in 2016). In 2016 they approximately represent 90% of the market in mobile payment in China.


Alipay registered in 2016 an average of 175 millions transactions per day, and more than 400 millions accounts. As a comparison, PayPal latest account update was around 190 millions.

What service do these apps provide?

These apps can allow you to:
– Transfer money between users (peer to peer)
– Pay online, with offline retailers (brick and mortar companies)
– And so many crazy things that we will explore in coming articles

Let’s get back to my astonished experience that blew my mind, as hard as Chinese fake alcohol could do.

Friday during the lunchbreak, you hear about a great street food noodle maker. Once you get there you notice that the most expensive asset of the restaurant is probably the smartphone of the owner.

There is a QR Code printed on the desk of the restaurant, and by scanning it with WeChat, it asks you how much you want to pay. Suddenly this street food restaurant is the most high-tech restaurant you’ve ever seen.

QR Code Shop Your payment is done!

Once you entered the amount of the transaction, and your security code (or Touch ID) the money leaves your digital wallet and immediately arrives into the sellers one! You just paid without even touching your physical wallet, a great example of dematerialization by technology.

WeChatPay Transactions Mobile Payment

Why is that amazing?

The fact that this street food restaurant has a QR code and gets paid by mobile payment represents the maturity of the market in China. You can pay every single thing with your mobile, from the taxi to a mojito at a bar. Almost every Chinese has a smartphone (700 million active WeChat users in China).
WeChat registered more financial transactions in one day (Chinese new year of 2015) than Paypal did in one year! Chinese have embraced the mobile payment.

Also, WeChat and Alipay are becoming platforms, in which they integrate all the actors of your life. You can pay your water, electricity, internet bills directly through Alipay. All this represents a huge amount of cash flow, data, and change, in the customer’s habits.

We’ve arrived to the end of the golden era of Apps. We will now arrive to the integration era, via platforms. Winners will be the ones with platforms that are at the core of customer needs.