The Oban Blog

Digital World – Global Digital Marketing News: Thursday 9 July 2015

In this week’s update of international news relevant to businesses operating online around the world: China’s domestic bank card organisation pulls ahead of Visa; Right to be Forgotten progresses towards law in US and Russia; Alibaba’s latest investments hint at strategic directions; Russian mobile landscape analysis; and how Chinese and Japanese online grocery purchases differ.

UnionPay ahead of Visa in transaction value globally

China UnionPay, China’s only domestic bank card organisation, saw total transaction value reach $1.9 trillion USD globally in Q1 2015. This puts UnionPay ahead of Visa for the first time in history: Visa stated that its total transaction value was $1.75 trillion USD in the same period. As China Internet Watch observes, UnionPay is already the biggest international bank organisation by total number of issued cards. These figures strongly suggest that UnionPay, which is by far the dominant payment card in China, is an essential inclusion for organisations targeting Chinese consumers.


Right to be Forgotten latest in US and Russia

Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group in the US, is lobbying the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate why Google refuses to implement “Right to be Forgotten” features outside of the EU. However, as FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez has previously stated that a Right to be Forgotten law may have a difficult time passing in the United States due to First Amendment rights, it seems unlikely that the complaint will be upheld.

In contrast, the Russian parliament has approved its broad, widely criticised RTBF proposal and needs only presidential assent to become a law in 2016. Yandex is said to be unhappy with the law, which doesn’t require individuals to identify specific offending links, and places the burden fully on the search engine.


Alibaba invests in SingPost and luxury flash sales store reports that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has invested further millions into both SingPost, Singapore’s national post and logistics company, and Chinese flash sales site Glamour Sales. The former is a $187.1 million SGD ($138 million USD) investment that brings Alibaba’s stake up to 14.51 percent: the goal of Alibaba’s investments in SingPost transparently being to grow and take ownership of a substantial part of Southeast Asia’s emerging ecommerce market.

The Glamour Sales ‘Series C’ funding, meanwhile, seeks to integrate resources from Tmall with the flash sales site, and provide more premium luxury goods on Tmall itself. Tmall has a historical issue with counterfeit sales that Glamour Sales’ involvement may rectify.


Analysis of Russian mobile landscape

Lower costs, better speeds and a youthful web-user demographic are driving mobile internet adoption in Russia, according to an in-depth analysis of the state of play by Yandex’s Russian Search Marketing blog. According to the article, the majority of internet users in the country are under 35 and the biggest increases in mobile internet usage have been seen in the Far Eastern and North Caucasian Federal districts – both areas where broadband internet access is most expensive and slowest.

In the Far Eastern Federal District, broadband connections of just 4Mbit average speed cost nearly 600 rubles. ($10.5 per month) – In Moscow, speeds are 20Mbit for less than 300 rubles ($5.30 per month). Comparable speeds for nearly 100 rubles less are therefore appealing. Take a look at the article for comparisons of tablet and smartphone use, as well as some further regional trends.


Female online grocery buyers in China and Japan have entirely different needs

According to research from GMO Japan Market Intelligence (via, female users in Japan and China have vastly different purchasing profiles and concerns when it comes to digital grocery shopping. Firstly, whereas half of Japanese buyers have no set schedule for their purchasing, only 10.5% of Chinese buyers would say the same.

Emarketer links this to purchasing habits, as Japanese consumers are more likely to shop for infrequent reasons, such as avoiding heavy items. Chinese consumers are more likely to shop for convenience: 52.3% stated that it was time consuming to shop at physical stores (versus just 29.5% Japanese). The stats also make revealing statements about the state of e-commerce in both countries – the third most prominent concern about shopping online in China is damage to products during delivery. Very few Japanese respondents shared this concern.

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Image credits

Summer palace photo by Flickr user Guy sie

Forgotten in Winona photo by Flickr user Randy Heinitz

From Pillar to Post photo by Flickr user ThisParticularGreg

Break by the stairs photo by Flickr user Antoine K

Grocer photo by Flickr user Steven-L-Johnson