WeChat for Luxury Series: How to Use WeChat in the Culture Sector


With the maturing of China’s outbound tourism market in recent years, interest in cultural and experiential travel itineraries has soared. According to a survey of 3,000 long-haul Chinese travellers last year, 62% of overseas visitors listed museums and galleries as one of their top ‘to-do’ items. The UK’s tourist board, VisitBritain last year reported that Chinese tourists were far more likely to engage in cultural activities than other international demographics; 44% reported visiting museums and art galleries (vs 28% of global visitors), 43% visited castles and historic houses (vs 28% globally), 44% visited parks or gardens (vs 32% globally) and 12% went to the theatre, ballet, opera or classical music event (vs 9% globally). Chinese visitors are also more willing to pay for exhibition entry and consistently report higher spend in museum shops than other international visitors. Many of these tourists carefully plan out their trip before even boarding the plane, so it is vital for cultural institutions to develop a strong online presence.

Chinese interest in British creativity and culture more broadly continues to grow. The popularity of Downton Abbey and Sherlock has opened the door to other British exports such as Peppa Pig, Shaun the Sheep and Paddington Bear. Since launching in 2017, The British Library’s China project has engaged thousands of visitors through exhibitions in Beijing, Wuzhen, Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as digitally through its WeChat account, successfully showcasing the best that the collection has to offer to Chinese audiences.

Our analysis of the WeChat presence of Walpole Group members in the cultural sector highlighted the success of The British Library’s WeChat presence, as it came 15th overall in terms of article reads.

The Top 3 Culture Sector WeChat Accounts According To The TONG Walpole WeChat Report
The Top 3 Culture Sector WeChat Accounts According To The TONG Walpole WeChat Report

The V&A Museum, who had the second-best performance in the sector overall, has proved to be the best-performing newcomer to the platform among all Walpole members, since the launch of its account last summer. A combination of well-designed posts, targeted influencer collaborations and a focus on emphasising the museum’s relevance to its Chinese visitors has proven to be a winning formula.

Well-designed Posts:

Unsurprisingly for a design museum, the V&A has an incredibly well designed WeChat presence. Well-thought-out brand guidelines localised for China and WeChat provide a unifying theme across the V&A’s articles.

The V&A's Well-Designed WeChat Presence
The V&A's Well-Designed WeChat Presence

V&A Influencer Collaborations:

In an attempt to engage younger audiences, especially London’s many Chinese design students, the V&A has worked with a number of local influencers such as Wendy Yu. Interviews with aspiring Chinese designers as they tour the museum and select their favourite objects of inspiration regularly secures the museum up to 1,000 reads per article.

The V&A's Collaboration With KOL Wendy Yu
The V&A's Collaboration With KOL Wendy Yu

Relevance to Chinese Visitors:

A focus on objects, designers and exhibitions most relevant to Chinese visitors has emphasised the museum’s deep connection with China. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the V&A’s most popular WeChat post detailed its porcelain Blanc de Chine exhibition, garnering over 4,400 reads.

A V&A WeChat Article Showcasing Their Blanc De Chine Exhibition
A V&A WeChat Article Showcasing Their Blanc De Chine Exhibition

Beyond Walpole, the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art also has a fantastic WeChat presence. In January 2019, SFMOMA launched its WeChat Mini Program as a way of engaging Chinese visitors. An in-app audio guide and suggested gallery itinerary ensure that Chinese visitors are able to make the most out of their trip.

The San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art's WeChat Account
The San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art's WeChat Account

With Chinese visitors making up an ever-greater proportion of museum visitors around the world, institutions are increasingly looking for ways to engage them in easily accessible ways, and WeChat is the perfect platform. If you’d like to learn more about scaling up your brand’s WeChat presence, please reach out and book a consultation with one of our China market specialists. To access the full Walpole WeChat 2020 datasets, download the report here.

This article is part of a series highlighting the key findings of the TONG Walpole WeChat Report 2020. Watch this space for our next posts and upcoming events, which will cover further sector-specific insights.

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