Not long ago, brands (品牌) that wanted a presence in China had to be active on Weibo. But now, WeChat – the country's most popular messaging service – has taken over as the go-to app for consumers to get their fashion fix.
From cool independent labels like Shanghai-based designer Helen Lee to the Guccis, Louis Vuittons and Burberrys of the world, brands are using the app to reach a chunk of its estimated 500 million users.
There is also no shortage of cheaper online stores taking advantage of China's army of social media-savvy users, too. Think about all the new products, campaigns and designs that could be broadcast to personal handheld screens; and then there's the special promotions and flash sales that some brands might not want to publicise in print.
WeChat users even have cash a transfer service at their disposal. The service, linked to your bank account, can settle the bill at restaurants and stores, and transfer funds between contacts. No wonder online shopping channels are rushing to the app.
It's not just stores and brands that are conducting business on WeChat. Consider style leaders such as Leaf Greener, a former senior fashion editor at Elle China and a staple in the streetstyle scene. This year she launched a WeChat style magazine called "LEAF".
Direct with the potential for powerful influences, we expect to see a lot more brands and individuals offering these kinds of editorial content on WeChat in their bid for to grab a share of that information-hungry crowd of 500 million.