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1 Danny Tang commented Trackback

Great insight Boxley!
Social is indeed growing explosively in China. The other day I heard that there are 100M postings a day on Weibo (the Chinese version of Facebook+Twitter) -- amazing!!
Many of the Chinese banks I met with were taking a wait-and-see approach. One even mentioned to me that they hesitate to "create a forum for bank-haters to spread their negative comments". But I have no doubt that the popularity of social will turn that attitude around. I also think that Chinese banks will have a different strategy depending on the size:
Tier 1 banks (i.e., the big 4) will mostly adopt a defensive and more passive strategy for promoting brand image (think Chase Community Giving) and responding to "customer voice" (e.g., a team to monitor Weibo).
Tier 2 banks (i.e., the joint stock commercial banks) operate nationwide but lack the wide branch network of the Big 4. I think they will be much more aggressive in using social as a tool to reach out to customers. Programs such as community for specific customer segments, social marketing, social engagement, etc. could bring a lot of value to these banks.
Tier 3 & 4 banks (i.e., the city and rural banks) operate regionally and are usually slower in adopting new business models and technologies, but I do think that these smaller institutions can proactively work with local businesses and use social as product launch pad to gain an edge over the bigger guys.
The foreign banks (HSBC, Citi, etc as well as banks from Taiwan and HK) will have to use more caution as there are political implications. It may not be the best idea to be the first one pioneering things like sentiment analysis and social marketing.
IBM has a long history of helping Chinese banks in their transformation journey. There's no doubt in my mind that IBM will be the banks' best partner in social business too!

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