Global Marketing News – 15th April 2016
WeChat announces radical new content censorship policy
The popular Chinese messaging app WeChat has announced a long list of content that is now banned on the site.
Banned content includes anything that violates the law, fraudulent content, spam, and untrue or unproven stories that amount to rumours.
Other, more bizarre, banned content includes: quizzes and games; articles with clickbait headlines; “vulgar” and sexual content, which includes information about treating sexually transmitted infections; and anything that encourages users to share an article or follow a user.
Users who break the new rules will be penalised, with punishments ranging from a block on the content to permanently banning the user’s account.
The response from users has been mixed, with some saying they are pleased that something is being done about the rampant rumours that plague the site, whilst others express concern about whether the new rules go too far and ban legitimate content.
Some commentators have also asked whether WeChat will be able to effectively identify all the banned content and enforce the new rules.
WeChat is the most popular social messaging app in China, with around 650 million monthly active users.
Privacy watchdogs recommend changes to EU Privacy Shield
A panel of privacy watchdogs has urgently recommended that changes be made to Privacy Shield, the pact that is meant to replace the Safe Harbour principle.
The Safe Harbour principle, which governs data transfers between the European Union and the US, was declared “invalid” by the European Court of Justice last year.
Safe Harbour stated that US companies receiving data from the EU could self-certify themselves as having data protection safeguards in place.
The panel said that Privacy Shield does not go far enough to protect the data of EU citizens, citing concerns that US companies could still collect data from EU citizens on mass.
The European Commission has thanked the panel for its feedback and has said that they will take their concerns into consideration when finalising the wording of Privacy Shield.
Naver and Kakao in South Korea online-to-offline battle
The South Korean internet giants Naver and Kakao are in fierce competition over the country’s online-to-offline market.
The two companies are launching rival services in areas such as payments, hair salons, taxi hailing and maps.
In 2015, Naver and Kakao both launched their online payments services Kakao Pay and Naver Pay. Now, they have gone one step further by both announcing the launch of their own physical payments cards.
The two companies have also said they both plan to launch online hair salon services this year, which will allow users to find and book hairdressers and even pay using an app.
The maps and navigation space is another area where fierce competition is predicted. Kakao has already launched a taxi hailing app Kakao Taxi and acquired a navigation app. It plans to launch bus and subway timetable apps later this year, as well as an Uber-style service called Kakao Driver.
In response, Naver has said it will update its Naver Maps service to include taxi and navigation tools.
South Korea has an internet penetration rate of 92%, equivalent to 45 million people.
Photo sharing and social app PicMix raises $3 million in funding
And finally, the photo sharing and social networking app PicMix has raised 3 million US dollars in funding.
PicMix allows users to edit and share photos, engage in social networking and social ecommerce, and take part in contests.
It has around 27 million registered users, of which 50% use the app on at least a monthly basis.
PicMix is most popular in Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa.
It intends to use the money to create a learning algorithm that will help it to better understand the needs of its users, as well as to expand its social ecommerce platform to other South East Asian countries.
South East Asia is an appealing market due to its rapidly rising mobile internet population.
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