Alibaba launches a new social app in China

#Agency News
BY Jensen Yan
Managing Director (China)
1 Oct 2019

Alibaba is testing its new social media app, The Real (RuWo in Chinese) which is targeting college students with the slogan ‘Real life, Real me!’.

Real app allows students to discover and share posts with the people they really care about, as well as discussing issues and topics relevant to them and their age group.

The app features a multitude of filters and stickers for editing photos and videos and offers facial recognition for login.

The app which is currently available by invitation only, is the latest in a long line of apps from Alibaba, though this is only the second to focus on social activities after the failed launch of Laiwang which tried to compete with WeChat. The app provides the following key features:

  1. Users are able to find interesting people or events based on location.
  2. People can add contacts by scanning their faces and add impressions as tags about them.
  3. The smart camera recommends various stickers that fit different shooting scenarios.
  4. Different cartoon characters are provided for users to greet friends by entering a role-playing game.

Although WeChat and QQ are dominating the social media market in China, the Z Generation demand new and stylish social media apps to explore and inhabit.

We think the app is focusing on this niche target audience to give itself a competitive edge against rival WeChat, which has similar functions. One way to differentiate the app from WeChat was to focus on college students and give them the opportunity to have their own online social space.

However, the app is facing a potential loss in users once they graduate. We think that Alibaba needs to work harder on some other creative selling points to attract a wider audience long-term.

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Joining Crowd after completing his Masters Degree, Jensen heads our offices in China and works with clients looking for expertise in the Chinese market as well as Chinese clients looking to market themselves outside of China.

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