Think Global, Act Mobile

Filed in China, Mobile Engagement, Mobile Marketing by on April 7, 2016 0 Comments

This post originally was published as a post on the Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s blog, MEF Minute.

Unlike other countries, where companies are still determining how mobile fits in as part of a cross-channel strategy for connecting with customers, in China, mobile is already recognized as part of a larger framework for solving critical business problems. That’s clear when you look at companies like Amazon China and the way it’s using mobile to support the growth of Amazon’s mobile-first Chinese customer base. It’s also the case with the mass adoption and growth of mobile payments with top Chinese Internet companies like Alibaba and Tencent, which all provide their own mobile payment apps.

In these ways, companies in China today are using mobile as the most critical and effective enabler to do business globally and interact with a constantly connected customer base.

To tell more of this story, let’s look at one specific business case that my company, Syniverse, is currently talking to brands about in China:  the leveraging of mobile to keep Chinese customers connected as they travel outside of the country.

The opportunity associated with these travelers is huge. According to a recent report from the consultancies Fung Business Intelligence Centre and China Luxury Advisors, China’s outbound traveler numbers are expected to double by 2020 to 234 million passengers, up from more than 100 million in 2014. What’s more, in 2015, Chinese tourist spending overseas was predicted to have reached $229 billion in 2015, and, by 2020, total tourist overseas spending is expected to reach $422 billion.

For companies in China, this represents an important opportunity to continue to connect with customers as they travel, whether it’s to upsell products or services, or to make their travel experience better.

For example, retailers can use location-based services such as geofencing to provide contextually relevant offers. These can include offering discounts to customers that are determined by their mobile phone location to be in a certain geographic area, such as near a store. Another example would be using mobile device location as an additional point of validation in protecting against fraudulent credit card activity, like the service that MasterCard offers its traveling customers.

Sponsored data is also providing a huge opportunity to drive deeper loyalty with customers as they travel abroad. Sponsored data enables Chinese companies to give mobile consumers free access to premium content on their devices while traveling. Sponsoring companies benefit from increased brand visibility and increased revenue opportunities with targeted consumers.

In fact, the opportunities for sponsored data are huge. Last year, Syniverse completed a study to find out how sponsored data services, such as offering sponsored Wi-Fi, could change consumer data usage. The result: a potential $6 billion opportunity was identified in Asia by 2019, and as much as a $23 billion opportunity worldwide.

As the world becomes more connected, going global and connecting with a wider customer base have clearly become priorities for businesses in China. Mobile will play a crucial part of the solution in addressing many of the challenges in achieving these goals.

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George Guo is a former Corporate Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific at Syniverse.

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