Will messaging apps be the next walled gardens?

WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell believes that when it comes to walled gardens, “the more the merrier.” And it looks like he just might get his wish.

That’s because throughout the digital economy, walled gardens seem to be sprouting.

How Western mobile apps are making headway in China: stats

The Chinese mobile landscape is a fascinating market to study.

On the first hand we see a vast population over a very large and diverse geography.

This has been the perfect condition for fast mobile growth in recent years, even nearing 100% penetration as we enter 2016.

Why China has a five-year lead in social media & ecommerce

Travelling in China gives a fresh perspective on the European and US internet markets.

What if a single social media platform integrated commerce, location, messaging, and social networking?

You’d need to combine Amazon for shopping, Facebook for branded communities and promotion, PayPal or online banking service to pay bills, and WhatsApp for messaging.

Welcome to digital in China: the people, platforms and players

Given the sheer size of China’s economy and the all-encompassing power of its communist government, it’s easy to think of it as a place where speed and innovation might be stifled.

However the very opposite is true according to Ogilvy & Mather’s head of digital in APAC Barney Loehnis, who gave one of the keynote talks at Econsultancy’s Future of Digital Marketing event.

Loehnis who has been working in Asia for eight years, describes the working environment as “brutal”.

Tencent and WeChat: 35+ facts & figures on the Chinese tech giant

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has captured the West’s attention recently thanks to its upcoming IPO and the launch of a new US marketplace called 11 Main.

However we’d be foolish to overlook its main rival in China, Tencent, which is equally capable of branching out for world domination.

The listed company has a market cap of more than $150bn and a portfolio of products that includes QQ instant messenger (818m monthly active users), Tencent Mail (274m), and Tencent Weibo (22m).

However most people will probably be more familiar with Tencent’s WeChat messenger app, which is seen as a rival to Facebook’s WhatsApp.

However unlike Facebook, Tencent makes most of its money from video games and sales of digital goods, with only 9% coming from ads.

To shed more light on the size of Tencent’s business empire, I’ve rounded up a whole load of stats on its user numbers and revenues.

And for more of the same, read my posts looking at 30+ amazing stats on Alibaba and discussing whether innovation by Chinese social networks gives a glimpse of Facebook’s future

World Cup marketing in APAC: Which brand has the most innovative campaign?

The World Cup kicks off on June 12 and is a festival of football that Asia’s passionate fans will doubtless enjoy.

Unfortunately every game kicks off at times between midnight and 6am here in Singapore which is going to mean some very sleepy Singaporean and Asian residents.

Many brands are desperately trying to capture the attention of these passionate fans, both official sponsors and unofficial brands eager to capitalise on the world’s greatest event.

But which is doing the best job?

Five important ecommerce trends in China during 2014

How big is Chinese ecommerce going to be in three to five years? McKinsey & Co. has produced a report suggesting that the market will be between US$420bn and US$650bn by 2020.

At the start of a new year analysts like to predict trends for the year ahead. When 2014 began there was a slew of predictions about the ecommerce landscape in China.

Now that it’s half way through the year I want to share with you some trends that are driving ecommerce in China. I’m going to look at how these trends have developed using some of the insights predicted by Chinese analysts.

Does innovation by Chinese social networks give a glimpse of Facebook’s future?

Social media users in Western nations tend to be very precious about their favourite networks.

Witness the uproar when Facebook introduced the new timeline back in 2011, or the disbelief when Twitter dared to introduce blue lines linking related tweets.

We seem to be unwilling to accept that social networks should do anything other than the simple tasks for which they were originally designed, ignoring that fact that agility and innovation was what made these companies successful in the first place.

Instagram is perhaps the ultimate example of this, as it has become phenomenally popular despite the fact that all it does is share photos (admittedly it does that extremely well and I’m an avid user).

And I’d be interested to see the reaction if Instagram ever tried to drastically alter the interface or develop new functionality.