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Channel Roundup : February 2014

Channel roundup – essential intelligence on the latest developments from the world’s leading digital networks and channels. Facebook enters the space race, wearable tech from Motorola and social media in China

Facebook rumoured to be acquiring Titan Aerospace
Rumour has it that Facebook is set to pay $60 million to acquire Titan Aerospace, makers of near-orbital, solar-powered drones which can fly for five years without needing to land. For Facebook, this could open up wireless internet services for potential customers in remote locations.
For brands, it’s an opportunity to reach audiences and ‘fans’ in Africa and Asia who may have been willing but not able to engage before now.

Foursquare’s revenues hit an all-time high
In the run-up to location-based app Foursquare’s fifth birthday, the company’s CEO Ben Horowitz has stated that revenues grew 600% in 2013. The app has shifted its business model from tracking where friends are to becoming the go-to place for people searching for local information, and it now averages 6 million check-ins per day.
As personalised services and micro-location initiatives become increasingly important to brands wanting to provide a superior service, it seems that Foursquare may well become a force to be reckoned with from a marketing perspective.

Motorola smart watches – coming soon !
Wearable tech is a hot topic, and Motorola doesn’t plan on being left behind according to Rick Osterloh, the company’s Senior Vice President. In a recent announcement, Osterloh claimed that the smart watches that Motorola plans to launch will have taken into account ‘consumer issues like style and battery life.’ These are problems that have plagued other companies who have struggled to keep up with consumer expectations and deliver a product which merits such a high price tag. There’s no doubt that the plethora of ‘smart’ accessories will shape the marketing strategies of brands in the future – right now, there’s an opportunity to stake a claim to this uncharted territory, and it will be interesting to see which brands take the lead.

Getting the lay of the land in Chinese social media
China’s social media landscape can be tricky to navigate, with web services constantly popping up as replacements for others that have been blocked by the Great Firewall. Fortunately CIC (Social Business Intelligence Company) provides a helpful roundup every year, showing the comparable Chinese apps to popular services such as Instagram, Match, WhatsApp, Fancy and Yelp. Interestingly, even where the firewall doesn’t interfere, rival Chinese apps still prove more popular.

Here are some of CIC’s key take-outs, which brands looking to expand into the territory can use to inform their digital strategies:

• WhatsApp is used very little in China. The main messaging app is WeChat, with a small but growing rivalry from Alibaba’s Laiwang.
• YouTube is blocked in China and services like Hulu are not available, but China’s web users have a huge array of video sites to choose from, such as Youku, PPTV, Sohu Video, and iQiyi.
• LinkedIn is one of the very few western social sites to have an impact in China and this week the company rolled out a beta China site, which is a demonstration of its commitment to the territory.

History
Red Ant is a specialist in delivering multi-device digital experiences and developing enterprise technology to help retailers drive increased sales and operational performance.
Based in the UK, with offices in China, Hong Kong and Switzerland, Red Ant began as a technology company established in 1999, creating effective ways to help retailers connect with their customers in a rapidly changing digital world.

www.redant.com

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