Apps Used by a Young Chinese Investor

While WeChat holds so much consumer and marketing focus in China, there are a wide number of popular apps and forums that are worth including in marketing strategies. This is especially true when it comes to reaching specific target audiences. In this blog, I write about two apps I was introduced to by a young Chinese investor I met.

At dinner after a day-long marketing and branding workshop last month I got talking to one of the young Chinese investors, Kevin, who was franchising a UK baby brand in China. Kevin is part of an interesting, and rapidly growing demographic in China: young, affluent, international, educated males.

After a number of dishes, and a few glasses of bijiu, we got on to the topic of apps and the dominance of WeChat in China. I asked him what he would open on his phone if he was sitting on a train for 30 minutes and had already gone through his WeChat 朋友圈 (Moments; similar to Facebook’s news feed). Kevin told me that the latest apps he’s been using to kill time are 一刻 Yike and 得到 Dedao.


Pronounced “e-ker”, Yike was launched in 2014 by Douban, a Web 2.0 forum built around discussions of film, books, art and movies. Yike is a mobile interface into this community. In its App Store blurb, Yike bills itself as a ideal for killing those few minutes in the day spent “waiting for your meal at a restaurant, on the bus going home, slacking off at work, laying in bed before sleep, or even on the toilet.”

Kevin, born in the 1980, grew up with the internet during Web 2.0. Douban was one of the most popular forums of the time, and attracted an intelligent, creative community. While other mobile-first platforms and social networks have sprung up in China, Yike is a simple mobile window into Douban’s communities’ content. It’s a source of inspiration, creativity and knowledge.


Pronounced “Der-dao”, Dedao was launched in 2016 and offers lectures, TED-style talks and audio books in business, art, self-improvement and a number of other topics. The thinking behind the app centres on continuing personal development, delivered in a convenient format. Users pay a small amount through the app to gain access to lecturess, and revenue is then shared between the teacher and the platform.

Dedao’s success is that it taps into a drive in China for self-improvement and learning after leaving school. This search for a competitive edge in a crowded and competitive country has created phenomena like Tiger Mothers and the immense popularity of Chicken Soup for the Soul. The existence and apparent success of Dedao shows that some netizens in China are willing to pay for good content.

Beyond WeChat

WeChat’s mass-appeal means that sometimes, finding a target audience can be difficult. Reaching specific consumers through digital can sometimes be better achieved through topic-specific forums, platforms and apps. Independent tourists can be reached through travel forums, parents through mother-baby platforms and, in this case, young investors through self-education platforms.

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