On May 20th, Jing Travel, China Luxury Advisors, and Content Commerce Insider held a webinar exploring how institutions can connect to Chinese audiences through Mini Programs and live streaming.

The webinar followed Tencent’s latest cultural imitative, “Museums in the Cloud”, which launched Mini Programs, multifunctional apps that run within WeChat’s ecosystem, across 11 U.S. museums. The presentations explored the contours of China’s ever-evolving digital landscape, outlined a step-by-step approach for cultural destinations launching Mini Programs, and detailed the rise of live streaming in a cultural context.

For those who missed the webinar and want to learn more, you can watch the full recording here. You can also access a video outlining Tencent’s “Museums in the Cloud” initiative.

Slides for the “Museums in the Cloud” webinar can be found here: WeChat Mini Programs and Live Streaming in a cultural context

Below are four key takeaways from the webinar.

Mini Programs are an Economic and Dynamic Solution

Mini Programs are an ideal solution for destinations that aspire to be China-ready but face resource limitations. By uploading evergreen content onto a Mini Program destinations can markedly improve the onsite experience of Chinese visitors without needing to make a long-term investment. Mini Programs offer a polished and easily navigable experience on a platform that virtually every Chinese visitor to your institution already uses daily.

Key Quote

“Visitors can immediately launch into your collection, your works, it doesn’t require having a WeChat Account and you don’t need to commit to the band width [of running a WeChat Official Account]”

Jessica Dai, Cultural Lead, China Luxury Advisers.

Bridge the Language Gap

The number one reason Chinese outbound tourists visit museums and monuments is to learn about local cultural and history. Deeper engagement, however, is hindered the language barrier and the unwillingness of destinations to install Chinese signage. With more than 30 percent of Chinese visitors spending over two hours at destinations, there’s a clear need to go deeper than a Chinese map and brochure, yet the prospect of hiring a host of Chinese tour guides is, for most, simply not feasible. Offering a self-guided tour through a WeChat Mini Program could be the smart digital solution.

Key Quote

“WeChat is by far the most used tool used by Chinese travelers on holiday and it is the most natural place to bridge the [language] gap.”

Renee Hartmann, China Luxury Advisors, co-founder

Collect Visitor Data

After guided-tours, brochures and maps are the most in-demand resources for Chinese tourists, according to a 2019 survey. Aside from the environmental concerns of continued printing, the specifics of how visitors use paper resources is not measurable, a pamphlet does not tell you visitor flow or which artworks receive the most attention — Mini Programs, however, do, offering holders data up-to-date data on a user’s every click.

Key Quote

“Mini Programs are very measurable, they offer you great information that is timely and specific”

Jessica Dai, Cultural Lead, China Luxury Advisers

Live Streaming is Here to Stay

In February, a Chinese tour guide living in London live streamed his trip to the British Museum for the benefit of his homebound compatriots. More than 2 million people tuned in. The success of Chang Ji’s tour on short-video platform Kuaishou should, at the very least, encourage cultural destinations to research China’s expansive and dynamic live streaming landscape. The practice of live streaming has become ubiquitous for Chinese museums and is increasingly being used as a revenue generation strategy through connection e-commerce. Something to consider.

Key Quote

“Live streaming is here to stay. It is a great way to consume cultural content and we saw over recent months that [Chinese] people continue to see the world from home.”

Sky Canavas, Editorial Director, Content Commerce Insider.