The concept of We-media/Self-media (自媒体) is not new, as it was firstly introduced in 2003. After the intensification of digital technology and the globalization of the knowledge system, it emerged a trend in China that citizens could provide and share their stories or news. We-media has become an essential marketing tool for brands with influences abreast with the digital trend. We-media resources help companies increase their visibility and brand exposure, they play a vital role in brands doing marketing activities in China aligning with the e-commerce system and KOL economy.
We-media platforms are similar to the concept of traditional blogs, and today we focus on the ones that you can find in well-established and well ranked mainstream media platforms (e.g. Sina, Phoenix, etc.). Inside the “news client” (新闻客户端) of those websites/APPs an individual, a brand or a media can independently operate accounts, posting self-produced contents. Those platforms have an additional system recommendation engine that can recommend your blog content to more suitable people. To make a comparison with a western product, it’s something similar to have an account on “Medium”. Data show that the scale of Chinese news client users continues to expand from 594 million people in 2016 to 695 million people in 2019.
Toutiao, a product developed by ByteDance, is an AI news and information content platform, that uses machine and deep learning algorithms to source and surface content that users will find most interesting and provides services that connect people and information. Toutiao recommends content based on users' reading habits, so the number of readings is not determined by the number of fans of the blog. Toutiao’s algorithms also create content: the platform debuted its bot reporter Xiaoming during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, pushing out 450 stories between 500-1000 words summarizing the game results within minutes after the final whistle.
Sohu news clients is a “real-time news + subscription” application tailored for smartphone users. One of the advantages of this platform for the brands is that after the article is published (high-quality content) Sohu.com, Mobile Sohu.com, and Sohu News will display the article simultaneously.
腾讯 - Tencent News client
Tencent News client is a Tencent news service based on IOS and Android platforms.
新浪网 - Sina
Sina Kandian is the original content production platform provided by Sina.com for We-Media. The content of the Kandian platform will be distributed and recommended in Sina products such as Sina News client, mobile Sina.com, Sina.com desktop, Sina Weibo, etc. During the novice period, every new author, can publish only two articles per day.
Baijiahao is the We-media platform from Baidu. Baijiahao supports many content formats including articles, albums, videos, live broadcasts. One of the advantages of this platform for the brands is that the article may be recommended to the Baidu homepage and become a Baidu news source. In 2019, though, Baidu received several complaints, about placing low-quality pieces from Baijiahao toward the top of its search results and pledged to improve search service. Among the disadvantages: an ID card can only apply for one account, while one business license can apply for up to two Baijia accounts. Plus, at the moment, Baijiahao doesn’t support cancellation.