Digital World is Oban’s weekly series highlighting market insight big and small from around the world with major implications for your business strategy. In this week’s update: Mid-year ecommerce sales in China focus on imported products; startups and mergers in Africa; 30% of Chinese mobile traffic attributed to “bad bots”; Microsoft acquires German to-do app maker; and the majority of Japanese Facebook users on mobile are happy to interact with ads.
Think Chinese ecommerce events, and you’re almost certainly likely to think first of Double 11, the “Singles Day” sales event held on November 11 with a reputation for driving record-breaking online sales. However, two of the countries biggest business to consumer sites are currently promoting major mid-year sales – and the emphasis is on international interests, rather than the price wars of Double 11.
JD.com (Jingdong Mall) and Alibaba’s Tmall are reportedly focussing on direct global supply, financing, logistics and mobile social services. Alibaba is promising to make more than 300,000 products from 25 countries available in its upcoming promotion, partnering with Costco (US), Inferno (Germany) and King Power (Thailand) among others. A simple infographic outlining its plans is also doing the rounds.
Developments in the African market can sometimes slip by unnoticed, so a resource such as this roundup of news in May can be invaluable. Among the biggest pieces of news last month was the discontinuation of the Kalahari ecommerce brand – the South African site merged with rival Takealot, despite recent figures showing that Kalahari actually had the greater audience share. The new entity will benefit from greater scale and supply potential.
Elsewhere, it was a month of investments and acquisitions. May saw South African WordPress theme developer WooThemes acquired by web development corporation Automattic. Startups were also seen expanding, with DabaDoc, a Moroccan e-health company that aims to connect doctors to patients, launching in Algeria and Tunisia.
As eMarketer notes, there are clear distinctions between wanted and unwanted automated traffic on your website. “Good” bots, such as Google’s own search engine crawlers, are processing sites for the purpose of cataloguing and better understanding your content, and providing it to users. “Bad” bots, on the other hand, may be taking your content for the purposes of large-scale plagiarism, committing click fraud or hijacking accounts. The nefarious intent is only a fraction of the problem – it’s all bandwidth that costs a business money.
Whereas the world average on mobile for this kind of traffic is just 5.5%, a Distil Networks survey has revealed that as much as 30.6% of mobile carrier traffic in China is from “bad” bots alone. Interestingly, just 2.5% of these bots worldwide actually come from China itself – 52.2% of all unwanted automated mobile traffic actually originates from the United States. In total, only 40.9% of traffic originates from human users.
6Wunderkinder GmbH, the Berlin-based developers of Wunderlist, a popular to-do list app, have been acquired by Microsoft, according to The Drum. The figure paid for the business is said to be between $100 and $200 million and comes after the purchase of Acompli, an email app now carrying Microsoft’s Outlook branding.
Microsoft’s acquisition is likely to be a move to further improve its cross-platform app offerings – focussing on its own Windows Mobile platform, Microsoft was relatively slow at offering comprehensive Android and iOS apps. Wunderlist is already available on all three OSs, and may provide Microsoft with an edge over Google’s popular but more general purpose calendar features.
Facebook is the second largest active social platform in Japan, used by 21.4% of all mobile phone users according to Emarketer. Of this audience, only 39% claim to have never interacted with a Facebook advert, leaving over 60% performing a subsequent action because of advertising efforts. Actions taken by a significant number of respondents included those that would have resulted in future contact by brands – such as the 27.4% that ‘liked’ advertiser accounts. 32.9% claim to have visited sites through such adverts, 28.1% viewed video ads, 16.4% installed apps and 15.1% used coupons offered through advertising.
The figures are also encouraging considering that only slightly under a quarter of users surveyed claimed to have never seen a Facebook ad.
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Leshan sights photo by Flickr user Chi King
Wildebeest group photo by Flickr user Benjamin Hollis
IMG_1708 photo by Flickr user James Mitchell
Facebook Japan photo by Flickr user frontriver