LBS Marketing in China: 3 Things Jiepang Can Teach Foursquare

Jiepang may be better known as China’s Foursquare in the West. With 1.3 million registered users in Greater China, the location-based social app has partnered with more than 300 brands, such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Nike. Even luxury companies such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry have used its platform for check-in campaigns.

Established over a year ago in May 2010, the service is ranked third, based on China’s LBS marketshare by local research firm Eguan with other players in the space include Digu, Qieke, Kaikai, and Sina’s Weilingdi. But Jiepang stands out to advertisers due to several reasons.

This includes an aggressiveness to make the platform brand-friendly and positioning Jiepang as a social and customer loyalty solution for companies.

In a video interview with at SES HK 2011, David Liu, Jiepang’s founder and CEO shared three areas that Western LBS such as Foursquare and Gowalla can learn from to win Chinese consumers and brands.

A key tip to executing LBS campaigns in China, Liu said, is to create a user experience that adapts to the local environment. For instance, Chinese consumers are culturally more receptive to brands, so marketers can offer badges that are redeemable as coupons and vouchers in their stores.

For SMEs, Jiepang provides a self-service platform including an analytics dashboard at no cost to execute check-in campaigns. To monetize the platform, the LBS works closely with media agencies to launch branded badge campaigns for big brands.

In addition to having a large team of about 100 to educate local merchants about its service, Jiepang also partners closely with handset manufacturers such as HTC and Sony Ericsson to drive scalability for brand campaigns.

In August, Jiepang partnered with Nokia to roll out near field communications (NFC) check-ins for the device maker’s new smartphones. The technology will ensure authentic check-ins as mobile users would have to physically be at designated venues to swipe the NFC-enabled phones on Jiepang posters to share with their social networks.

Jiepang, which claimed to be the first LBS in Greater China to use NFC for check-ins, has also been distributing NFC window stickers to thousands of merchant partners in six cities in Greater China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Taipei, and Hong Kong.

Case Study: Galaxy Macau’s Check-in Campaign

Macau’s premier gaming and entertainment resort unveiled an LBS campaign in partnership with Jiepang early this week. Mobile users who check in to the casino and share their location on Sina Weibo or other social networking sites will win a Galaxy Macau branded badge. They can bring the badge to the registration counter to redeem a HK $50 voucher and get a chance to win free accommodation at the resort.

To generate awareness of the check-in campaign, Galaxy Macau has a dedicated venue page on Jiepang where it showcases a photo gallery featuring famous celebrities who have been to its venue as well as reveal that more than 1,500 Jiepang users have checked in to the place and 55 with intention to go.

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