Introducing WeChat Farm, a New Opportunity for Luxury Brands


What happened: WeChat has unveiled a new feature that allows users to express their mood or feelings through a new “Add Stickers” option. Similar to QQ’s original “mood” feature, Citizens can now include playful animal stickers as well as backgrounds to match cartoon memes and emoticons to display as their status.

Netizens are calling the new WeChat Farm feature tapping into China’s nostalgia for when Tencent released the farming management game, Happy Farm. When it was released in 2009, it was one of the hottest games among local Millennials at the time and it’s no different now: #WeChatFarm# is trending on Weibo, with 790 million views.

On WeChat, users can choose an animal avatar and background to update their status. Photo: Screenshots

The Jing plug: Social currency, or influence over social networks and communities, is paramount in the digital age. A brand can easily be overlooked if it doesn’t understand how to take advantage of social marketing, especially in China.

Take Hong Bao 红包 or the red envelope offered during Chinese New Year for example. This season, luxury houses such as Gucci, Dior, Prada and Cartier have all released digital red clutch bags on WeChat to replace traditional paper versions. Brands have even made different requirements for users to get those red envelopes. For example, if consumers wanted a Hermès virtual red pocket, they had to complete the company’s WeChat Mini Program game.

These virtual red envelopes, emblazoned with luxury logos, sparked such a frenzy that countless citizens spent money on them on Taobao. Although the price of Louis Vuitton’s electronic envelope was only around $4, luxury should not underestimate the use of such gadgets to connect with customers. It was a win-win situation because the customer could show off their purchase and bask in its uniqueness – for just a small fee.

As parts of China remain in lockdown, what better way for luxury to experience the booming digital fashion economy than offering avatars on WeChat? It’s still early days for the craze, but there’s no better time to get started than when people are cooped up at home and looking for new entertainment options online. Fashion lovers like to show off their luxury items, even if it is just a humble sticker. In this context, which luxury brand will be the first to create an “It” sticker collection in the digital world?

The Jing Plug reports on high-profile news and features our editorial team’s analysis of key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product declines and mergers to heated debates popping up on Chinese social media.