The best social media platforms to market to high-net-worth people in Asia
About a third of the world’s millionaires (in terms of US dollars) live in the Asia-Pacific region. How can luxury brands reach them on social media? Relevance’s Noah Bradshaw shows us how.
How can luxury brands reach high-net-worth consumers in Asia? / Atul Vinayak via Unsplash
Asia is quickly becoming a global hub for high-net-worth (HNWI) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI) (with a net worth of more than US$ 1m and $30m respectively).
There is no question that luxury brands wishing to reach HNW and UHNWIs must market in Asia-Pacific.
Reaching HNW and UHNWIs in Asia takes a tailored approach, as not only do consumer and lifestyle habits vary among these highly affluent audiences geographically, but so do the social media platforms that they use.
HNW and UHNWIs in Asia inhabit social media platforms that are unique to the Asia-Pacific region. Many are virtually unheard of in the West, and the most popular social media platforms vary greatly between different countries.
Although big Western social media players (like Meta and Twitter) are prevalent in most Asian countries, marketers wishing to target HNW and UHNWIs in Asia must craft campaigns for other prevalent platforms. Marketers must understand the nuances of each of these platforms and tailor content accordingly.
What does the UHNW and HNW population look like in Asia?
Relevance’s research highlights that China has by far the most UHNWIs (51,000) followed by Japan (17,000), Hong Kong (15,000), Taiwan (8,000), and Singapore (7,500). Worldwide, China comes in second place, Japan in fourth, and Hong Kong in fifth.
As for HNWIs, Asia as a whole has 7.2 million; Japan has the highest concentration, with 3.7 million. China has 1.5 million, Singapore 240,000, Taiwan 220,000, and Hong Kong 180,000.
What social media platforms do HNW and UHNWIs in Asia use?
HNW and UHNWIs in Asia use a variety of online platforms, some of which are used exclusively by Asian audiences, including microblogging platform Sina Weibo, communications app Line, instant messaging app WeChat, and Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.
While some Asian UHNWIs use Western platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in China (where the majority of APAC UHNWIs live) these platforms are banned, although wealthy audiences may still access them via a VPN.
Sina Weibo is a microblogging site used by HNW and UHNWIs in China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The closest Western equivalent to Weibo is Twitter. Weibo has surpassed Twitter in monthly active users, with around 593 million using Weibo every month (versus Twitter’s 390 million global monthly active users). Compared with Twitter, Weibo has additional features including stories, more profile customization, games, a digital wallet, and even a fitness tracker – it expands on the basic features of microblogging platforms like Twitter.
Line is a messaging platform created in South Korea, similar to WhatsApp. The app is extremely popular in Japan, where 68% of the population is on the platform. It’s also very popular in Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Line has 230 million monthly active users as of March 2023. The app's functions include texting, calls, food delivery, mobile payment, telehealth, investing, and music streaming. It’s somewhere Japanese and Taiwanese UHNWIs can be found. Luxury brands including Gucci, LVMH, and Prada have launched official accounts on the platform.
WeChat has a staggering 1.67 billion estimated monthly active users. Extremely popular in China, the app has a growing number of users outside of China too. Like Line, it can be used for a multitude of functions, keeping users inside one app.
WeChat can be used for texting, calling, news, short-form video, mobile payment, and more. While still somewhat obscure in the West, WeChat is essential to marketing to anyone, including UHNWIs, in China and some neighboring countries. Chanel is one luxury brand that generates significant traffic on WeChat; as do Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry.
Bilibili is a Chinese video-sharing platform focused on user-generated content. Though often compared to YouTube, there are notable differences. Bilibili is much smaller than YouTube with a respectable estimated 315 million monthly active users (compared with YouTube’s two billion). Bilibili is also less reliant on advertisements and is more involved in connecting creators with brands.
Bilibili uses Danmu, a system popular in China where comments can be left on a video, going across the screen for other users to see. The platform is very popular among gen Z and is expected to continue to see substantial growth. European luxury brands are using Bilibili to reach wealthy individuals in China, including Christian Dior, which regularly publishes videos on the platform.
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KakaoTalk is another messaging application that has expanded to encompass a variety of other functions. The platform is incredibly popular in South Korea, with 47 million users of the app’s total 53 million.
KakaoTalk incorporates downloadable third-party content, such as games. Additionally, users can follow brands, purchase products, hail taxis, send and receive emails, and more. While only a major platform in South Korea, leveraging KakaoTalk is vital to successfully market to South Koreans. Major designer brands, including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co have official accounts.
While many have heard of TikTok, not that many outside of China have heard of Douyin. TikTok is the international version of the Chinese app Douyin.
Douyin may not have as many users as its sister app, but it is still incredibly popular in China, with an estimated 730 million monthly active users. Douyin has numerous differences from TikTok, such as more advanced e-commerce functionality, only accessible in China, and different types of popular content. Douyin requires a slightly different approach but the core remains: short-form video content. Major luxury brands regularly use it to connect with China’s gen Z, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, and Dior.
Western social media platforms
Social media platforms that are popular in the West still receive attention from highly global HNW and UHNWIs in Asia, though not necessarily among the general population. This includes Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Medium, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest. It’s important to also consider these platforms when targeting HNW and UHNWIs in Asia.
Content by The Drum Network member:
Relevance is a strategic and creative digital marketing agency specialising in profiling and targeting Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Individuals for the world's most exclusive brands and companies.
Our agency has been marketing high-value goods, services, and experiences to this audience for over a decade, successfully driving the world's wealthiest individuals to take action. From niche collaborations to 360° support, we can provide a full-service solution or work on a project-by-project basis.
Based in Monaco and the UK, our team of international and multilingual experts excel at building brand identities, delivering cutting-edge websites and creating innovative digital strategies with SEO, paid and social advertising, media buying, social media, influencer marketing, PR, content marketing, and CRM to help our clients grow their businesses.
We work with a select portfolio of clients within the ultra-luxury sector, including real estate and hospitality, private travel (yachts, jets and supercars), wellbeing, gastronomy, fashion and apparel, jewellery and accessories, and finance.