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Communication for Social Good During Pandemic


The short video activity for agricultural assistance and previous successful cases both have brought the philanthropic organizations much inspiration. Is it possible to create influencers for social good on short video platforms?

                                                                                                                                                                                         By Tara Ouyang, China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI)

  In a short video less than 30 seconds, A post-80s doctor deputy county magistrate recommends the good products from his hometown to the whole country.

  “I’m wang Shuai, deputy county magistrate in Shanghe County, Jinan City, Shandong Province.

  Because of the epidemic situation, the export of flowers has been affected this year. We will launch the online flowers soon.”

  Wang Shuai wears the mask, introduces to netizens, holding a bunch of flowers:

  “Gerbera jamesonii Bolus is also called a sunflower, It represents positive and healthy in flower language and artistic conception.

  Dear all, please pay attention to Gerbera jamesonii Bolus in Huairen Town.”

  At the end of the video, you will see a shopping bag at the bottom of the screen, click in to buy directly.

  This is the “Tencent's agricultural assistance” activity launched by Tencent Wesee uniting county magistrates, village cadres, and farmers, which aims to help farmers for the overstock of agricultural products because of irresistible factors such as logistics during the pandemic.

  During this activity, the short video platform will match the corresponding product link, platform traffic recommendation, and other resources for users who meet the conditions without any distribution commission. As of April 18, 2020, the“Tencent's agricultural assistance” platform has published 2234 videos, with playback amount up to 52 million and likes up to 385,000.

  Except for Tencent Wesee, Kuaishou, Kwai, and Xigua Video launched the communication activity of agricultural assistance based on the short video platforms. County magistrates, secretaries, and farmers all become anchors. The "short video assisting agriculture" even created many social media influencers and also brought a considerable market for agricultural products. It is reported that a short video for poverty alleviation of navel oranges in Tencent Wesee got playback amount up to 1.7 million in two days, and the sales were up to 35,575 kg, about 35.5 tons. [1]

  The "short video assisting agriculture" is a communication activity for social good based on short video social media platforms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has achieved outstanding performance: on the one hand, it showed the role of the short video platforms as important channels of communication for social good; on the other hand, it also drove more philanthropic organizations to develop communication activities and construct new philanthropic scene with the help of short video platforms.

  At present, there are more than 800, 000 social organizations and more than 7000 philanthropic organizations in China [2], and their ability of communication for social good is uneven. The popularity rate of the Chinese Internet has exceeded 60%, and mobile Internet users have reached 847 million[3]. Whether we can do a good job in communication for social good in this era of rapid changes in Internet technology will affect the information and ideas dissemination, communication,fundraising, mobilization,transparency, and credibility of a philanthropic organization.

  Nowadays,communication for social good has evolved into the 3.0 era. The Internet platforms participate in communication for social good not only as of the communication tool but also as the cooperation partners[4]. How the philanthropic organizations cooperate with the short video social media platforms and build a new scene of philanthropy will test the judgment,imagination, and innovation of a philanthropic organizations. A few philanthropic organizations have started a journey of innovation, like China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, China Women's Development Foundation, China Children and Teenagers’ Fund, China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, One Foundation, and so on, which have joined the “Sound Volume Plan” launched by Douyin and Toutiao, empowering philanthropy with technology.


  Don’t underestimate the philanthropic value of the short video platforms

  The foundation of supporting "short video assisting agriculture" is the flow advantage and sinking market of the short video platforms. China’s short video industry has risen and developed rapidly since 2016 and has entered the mature period of development by 2018.

  Because of the low creation threshold, strong social attribute, and fragmented entertainment, it has won a large number of users.According to the research report of China’s short video industry in 2019 by the Prospective Industry Research Institute, as of June 2019, China has 857 million short video users, more than half of which are youth in third and fourth-tier cities. The amount of time users spend on short video platforms is second only to instant messaging.

  This report shows that in the market of China’s short videos, Douyin and Kwai belong to the first team, accounting for 54.2% of the market share; Xigua Video and Volcano Video (the author’s note: upgraded to Volcano version of douyin on January 8, 2020 and enabled a new icon) belong to the second team,accounting for 22% of the market share. [5]

  After the outbreak of the Corona Virus, there was an explosive increase in the short videos. According to the data of special report on fighting Coronavirus during the Spring Festival in 2020 by QuestMobile, the combination of pandemic and Spring Festival led to the change of the mobile Internet industry. Compared to the last Spring Festival, short videos accounted for more user’s time than mobile games this year.

  This report shows that both Kwai and Douyini had an increase of more than 40 million users because of cooperation with CCTV and local TV Spring Festival Gala. [6]

  In China’s Internet philanthropy summit 2019, Zhang Fan, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) leader of Kwai, introduced that Kwai’s daily active users are 160 million (the author’s note: more than 300 million at present [7]), with 15 million videos uploaded every day, and regional distribution of users in urban and rural areas is consistent with that of users of China Internet Network on the whole.

  The users of Kwai short video platform include a variety of groups in China, including the groups concerned by the practitioners in the field of philanthropy.

  Zhang Fan said, Kwai short video platform could help solve two pain points of Chinese philanthropy, one is to help philanthropic organizations know more about the people they serve and attract supporters interested in their own projects; the other is to improve transparency of the philanthropic projects.

  She also believed that the decentralization of ecology brought by Kwai’s inclusive algorithm also further created new possibilities to communication for social good. [8]

  On February 10, Kwai launched “agricultural assistance” activity, and allowed more traffic used for short videos of helping farmers. Kwai also contacted the affected agricultural enterprises, wholesale market, etc., with the help of Kwai e-commerce supplier big data accurate recommendation system, let offline enterprises become online enterprises and sold on e-commerce platforms.

  Besides, agricultural technology courses were uploaded in batch and the "Spring plowing plan" was published to help farmers prepare for spring plowing from home. The official data of Kwai showed that, in a single month, the number of creators of "agricultural assistance" exceeded 100,000, the number of the short videos exceeded 1.5 million, and the playback amount of the works exceeded 20 billion. [9]

  On February 18, Administration and Management Institute, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Office of Beijing Municipal Leading Group for Poverty ReductionCooperation and Assistance, Social Participation in Poverty Alleviation and Development of China, Toutiao, Xigua Vidoe, Douyin jointly launched the activity of “Fighting the Virus, Helping the Farmers”, and achieved effective connection of supply and demand information of agricultural products with the advantages of the platform and through accurate distribution of information.

  It is reported that in the past years, Toutiao had launched a project of “mountain products on Toutiao” and helped farmers sell more than 1.56 million agricultural products in various regions on Toutiao, Xigua Video, Douyin, and other social media platforms. [10]

  During these agricultural assistance activities on the short video social media platforms, China’s top short video platforms made outstanding achievements, which further consolidated the meaning of “short video/live broadcast+e-commerce”, the new samples of Internet poverty alleviation, and may enlighten the philanthropic organizations in the field of poverty alleviation.

  At China international big data industry expo 2019 held in May last year, Yi Xuan, director of government affairs of Kwai, introduced that Kwai short video platform has developed a series of plans for rural support. As of May 2019, the platform has helped more than 50 poor counties, and more than 3.4 million national poverty county users got income through Kwai short video platform.

  During the expo 2019, Nie Hailin, a former inspector of the Department of E-commerce and Information Technology, Ministry of Commerce, said that the targeted poverty alleviation through e-commerce in villages covered 1,016 counties and the live broadcast marketing had become a new outlet for online retail. [11]


  Is it possible to create influencers for social good on short video platforms?

  At noon on March 2, in the live room of Wanrong Youpin's spokesman in Xigua Video, Song Xiaoying, deputy county magistrate in Wanrong County, Shanxi Province, sold the local apples with "Xiao Ying and Xiao Ping", creators on Xigua video platform, through live broadcast. It is reported that they sold 53,000 Kg apples and obtained a turnover of nearly 550,000 CNY (77,781 USD) [12] in 3 hours.

  It is reported that from February 29 to March 2, 10 county magistrates from Hunan, Anhui, Guangxi, Xinjiang, Liaoning, etc. sold their local specialty agricultural products through live broadcasts in the live rooms on Xigua Video platforms. The total sales were more than 250,000 Kg, nearly 3 million CNY(424,262 USD).

  In 2019, "selling goods" through a live broadcast on social media platforms became popular in China. Since the COVID-19 break out, the local officials acted as the social media influencers, driving "traffic" with "live broadcast", boosting sales with "traffic", and have been opening market for local agricultural products.

  Wang Shuai, a deputy county magistrate of Shanghe County, who promoted flowers on Tencent's Wesee, has 591,000 fans on the platform.

  Among his 49 works in Wesee at present, he recommends not only the local flowers but also local carrots, succulent plants, tomatoes, traditional cloth, and so on.

  In order to recommend the royal braised chicken, he even ate 10 chickens on the table, showing a sense of social media "Influencer".

  Compared with the local officials, the "county girl" is a real native "influencer" on the short video platform. She has 2.49 million fans on Xigua Video platform and has published 1997 videos. According to her certification, she is a member of the Agricultural Contributors and partner of "Agriculture, Rural areas and Farmers" union of Toutiao. So far, her most outstanding achievement was that she used to sell more than ten thousand of yellow ginger and became the hope of poverty alleviation in her village. In this "agricultural assistance" activity on short video platform, she was invited to join the event and played the role of "attracting fans".

  Having more powerful network attraction, the social media“influencer" can usually bring unexpected effects to communication for social good. However, according to the Sixth Research Report on Internet Use and Communication Ability of Chinese Philanthropic Organizations, only 5.36% of philanthropic organizations regard live broadcast as the most important communication channel in 2018 [13].

  It can be seen that most philanthropic organizations keep a restrained distance from the social media “influencer”. Instead, there are also a few philanthropic organizations that have exerted their imagination.

  In December 2019, the Greenovation Hub, a philanthropic environmental protection organization,cooperated with Kwai and invited a social media “influencer” Glacier (net name:Tibetan Adventurer King) Wang Xiangjun to join the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain.

  He is a professional adventurer, with only high-school diplomas, out of love for nature, began to shoot glacier video,attracting more than 1 million fans.

  According to reports, most of Glacier's fans are sinking users who are the people the Greenovation Hub hoped to influence.

  "Because the first and second-tier cities are not the most vulnerable areas affected by climate change, but the third and fourth-tier cities and the fifth and sixth-tier cities are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change."

  This communication campaign successfully achieved a "broken circle" effect, and made the sinking crowd know more about climate change.

  It is reported that Glacier's short videos taken at the climate conference have played more than 10 million times, and the four videos edited later have played more than one million times. Many "Lao Tie" (fans of Kwai) have been interacting with him in the live room, and they seriously discuss climate issues by leaving the messages on the screen. The reports about Wang Xiangjun himself, such as the speech of Chinese rural youth in the United Nations has also been widely spread. [14]

  Nowadays, philanthropic organizations can choose a variety of communication channels for social good. The short video activity for agricultural assistance and previous successful cases both have brought the philanthropic organizations much inspiration. Based on a new ecosystem of social interaction, short video platforms can provide many new ideas and possibilities for communication for social good and public welfare. Zhang Fan, the CSR leader of Kwai, said at China's Internet philanthropy summit 2019, "We also hope to discuss with more philanthropic organizations on how to create first-line philanthropic influencers, institutional Influencer and project Influencer under the new ecology, and make the communication for social good more independent, three-dimensional, and more targeted."


  [1] Xiang Zengyan, CNHNB.com and Tencent Wesee Jointly Launched Poverty Alleviation and Agricultural Assistance Activity: A Single Short Video, 35,575 kg Navel Oranges were sold! Tencent, February 28, 2020,


  [2] According to the statistics from Charity in China.


  [3] According to the 44th Internet Development Statistics Report in China, August 2019.

  [4] Pi Lei, The Annual Philanthropic Statistics of ByteDance 2018 Relase, and the Participants are increasingly diversified, China Philanthropy Times, January 16, 2019.


  [5] Prospective Industry Research Institute, Research Report on China’s Short Video Industry 2019, https://bg.qianzhan.com/report/detail/1909091648561802.html#read

  [6] Wang Xinxi, “Crisis” and “Opportunities” of Shor Video in 2020 During Pandemic, Brief Comment, Sohu Account, February 9, 2020, https://www.sohu.com/a/376778629_470010

  [7] Analysis on the Kwai Content Report 2019: Multi-face Kwai behind 300 million Plus of Daily Active Users, the Home of Zhanzhang, March 6, 2020, http://www.chinaz.com/2020/0306/1115385.shtml

  [8] CSR Director of Kwai: Short Video Platform to Build a New Philanthropic Ecosystem, Tech-talk, Sohu Account, May 17, 2019. https://www.sohu.com/a/314563749_235941

  [9] Kwai Agricultural Assistance Activity was featured on CCTV News Twice, Fighting the Virus Together, Xinhuanet, February 21, 2020, http://www.xinhuanet.com/tech/2020-02/21/c_1125605562.htm

  [10] Li Ping, Toutiao, Xigua Video, Douyin “Fighting the Virus, Helping the Farmers”, it.gmx.cn, February 19, 2020, http://it.gmw.cn/2020-02/19/content_33570814.htm

  [11] Short Video and Live Broadcast Creating the New Samples of E-commerce Poverty Alleviation, Ecns.cn, May 31, 2019, http://www.chinanews.com/business/2019/05-31/8852514.shtml

  [12] 10 county magistrates sold products through live broadcast on Xigua Video, the total sales exceeded 250,000 Kg within 3 Days, Ecns.cn, March 5, 2020, http://www.chinanews.com/business/2020/03-05/9114383.shtml

  [13] Shenzhen Tuou Philanthropy Development Center, Sixth Research Report on Internet Use and Communication Ability of Chinese Philanthropic Organizations, July 2018, https://pan.baidu.com/s/15RW7MGn9M9FIqwfsT2TyEg

  [14] Greenovation, Kwai & China Youth Climate Action Network: Post 2020: Exploring a New Path in Communication on Climate Knowledge and Action, January 15, 2020


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