Steve Shi is among the first wave of Chinese broadcasters experimenting with the new content vehicle of podcasting. In addition to his “Steve Says” channel which focuses on mental health, he is now the host of the branded podcast program “Herstory”, launched by luxury company Giada this year. Founded in 2015, Shi’s personal channel was named “The Top Show in 2019” by Apple Podcast, attracting Gen Z and Millennial subscribers.
Much has been said about the rapid growth of short video and live streaming in China. Of these new engaging content formats, podcasting is one of the most overlooked. In NielsenGlobal Annual Marketing Report 2022, it was found that 59% of marketers in Asia-Pacific believe that new formats such as podcasts are very important for marketing strategies. Although this sentiment is lower than that of the whole world (65%), in an age of information explosion, it is proving to be a valid means of attracting public attention.
It’s time for podcasting in China to come of age. According Projection of eMarketer, local listeners will reach 102.4 million this year, ranking the country second only to the United States; the growth rate is expected to remain in double digits until at least 2025.
Although the Nielsen report found that many marketers don’t have much confidence in tracking podcasting’s ROI, some early adopters are betting on the high brand recall rate the format can generate. And there are great benefits to be gained from exploring the sector, such as building broader community bases.
As global luxury houses like Gucci and Giada along with local labels Neiwai, Maia Active and Pop Mart all dive into their own shows, launching digital initiatives on local podcast platforms can help luxury test the opportunity. Here, Daily Jing presents three leading platforms on the continent that luxury should know.
Background: Launched in 2013, Shanghai-based Ximalaya is the country’s largest audio streaming platform. It has a huge content offering that includes audiobooks, music, comedy performances, and of course, podcasts. In order to build a business structure that capitalizes on knowledge sharing, the platform has created a model of professional user-generated content by inviting KOLs from various sectors, including art and culture, sports, finance and business to contribute. Recently, Ximalaya invited a host of celebrities, media and brands to open their official channels.
Who is using it : On the occasion of International Women’s Day, L’Oréal Paris joined forces with the platform to launch a dedicated program in March. The “I Say I’m Worth It” campaign featured one-on-one conversations between five celebrities and five popular podcast hosts about youth culture, women’s talk, lifestyle, personal growth and entertainment.
Background: Since 2015, Beijing-based Vistopia has been producing culturally-focused digital programs — art, culture, history, literature and sociology are all topics covered. Under the slogan “see another possibility”, the app invited university professionals to launch audio programs to create a virtual cultural center for the national public. One of its most influential podcast programs is Eight Point hosted by cultural celebrity Leung Man-tao.
Who is using it : To commemorate its 100th anniversary, Gucci has collaborated with the digital publishing house to launch a three-episode podcast titled A Party for Music. For the project, Vistopia invited musicians to share their careers and discuss musical anthology.
Background: Launched by Shanghai-based start-up Jike in 2020, Xiaoyuzhou is a high-growth listener app: more than 2 million in a year and a half. Distinct from other platforms that include various audio content such as music and audiobooks, Xiaoyuzhou is a podcast-only application with user-friendly functions and personalization algorithms. The strong user traction of its live channels has prompted brands to partner with them, which is a good sign for further consolidation.
Who is using it : In March 2021, local lifestyle company Neiwai collaborated with leading channel Stochastic Volatility to launch a branded podcast series on Xiaoyuzhou. The dedicated initiative included three episodes featuring women who are leading figures in their respective industries. The partnerships sparked extensive online discussions on related topics (from gender equality to entrepreneurship), which echoed Neiwai’s women’s empowerment DNA.
The Italian luxury house Giada has also partnered with a media Tatler to deploy a show named “Herstory” on the platform. The ongoing series takes the form of dialogues with women leaders who share their personal lives and professional experiences.