Affiliate World Conferences organizes two of the largest, most well-known affiliate conferences every year. Who in the affiliate marketing industry hasn’t heard of Affiliate World Europe and Affiliate World Asia?

Which is why we sat up and took notice when they announced something new to their roster this year:

Affiliate World China Tour 2018.

WHAT IT IS

The Affiliate World China Tour is a series of three meetups across three of China’s famous cities – Shenzhen on 16th September, Shanghai on the 18th, and Beijing on the 20th. Eager to meet new people and experience a new culture, some of our affiliate managers from Direct Affiliate headed off to China to join the event.

THE EXPERIENCE: SHENZHEN

Unfortunately, it turns out that super typhoon Mangkhut, the strongest tropical storm in decades, was making its way to China as well. We arrived in Shenzhen two days before the event, and the weather was excruciatingly hot and humid (which is really something coming from a Singaporean ok). The air was still and stifling – the true calm before the storm. We spent the days anxiously checking the news and tracking the typhoon’s course.

It ended up hitting Shenzhen on the very afternoon of the event day itself.

We spent the whole day hiding out in our hotel, hearing the wind howl and watching the trees bend to the wind and rain.

 

Ultimately, the event ended up canceled as the venue itself closed all its bookings. Kudos to the organizers though – they kept everyone well updated via the events’ WeChat[1] groups every step of the way.

THE EXPERIENCE: SHANGHAI

Shenzhen was a metropolis, with clean tall buildings – the very definition of a modern city. Shanghai on the other hand, was a whole new kettle of fish.

It was like the collision site of various architectural styles. There were European style architecture and a clock tower that chimed to a distinctively Chinese tune. Look across the bay and you see staggeringly tall buildings that disappeared into the clouds. By night, all these buildings lit up with Macau-esque LED lighting.

It was a fascinating sight.

Shanghai Bay night view

It was against such a backdrop that the Shanghai meetup took place.

JZ Latino

The Shanghai event took place at JZ Latino, a lounge bar at the top of Renaissance Yu Garden Hotel. It also connected to the open rooftop, which had plenty of seats and tables for attendees to mingle and appreciate the night view as well.

The view from the top

It was a cozy event, with quite a substantial turn up. All the seats were filled, and there were plenty of people standing and milling around. STM Forum Moderator, Amy Cheung, was there as well.

THE AFFILIATE CULTURE IN CHINA

The Shanghai affiliate scene
  • YOUNG

While there were a few network representatives that flew in from other countries to attend the event like us, most of the attendees were locals, with their businesses being based in Shanghai. Interestingly, they were all pretty young, between their 20s and 30s. It appears that China’s Affiliate Marketing industry is driven primarily by millennials.

  • PROACTIVE

They are more proactive in networking as well. You don’t have to worry about how to approach them, because they’ll be the ones approaching you. Even if you don’t match what they’re looking for, they’ll still ask to add you as a contact on WeChat, for any possible partnerships in future. Many of them don’t even carry physical name cards with them, and will instead share the digital version with you through WeChat, making it an essential app for networking in China.

  • TRAFFIC & CAMPAIGN TYPE

There were quite a number of affiliates that specialized in running campaigns on social media — Facebook, in particular. Understandably, they weren’t so keen on verticals that tend to get cracked down on, like Nutra. Safer verticals like education and gaming are good, and they lean more towards white hat campaigns rather than black hat campaigns.

  • ECONOMIC SETTING

During our short stay, we’ve come to learn of a socioeconomic issue prevalent in China: the wage an average person earns there is not enough to fund a comfortable lifestyle. While we were enjoying the view of the Shanghai bay, we overheard the fervent discussion of 3 colleagues on how to survive on their income. We saw a Muji store which had posters announcing they were searching for a Store Manager, with a monthly pay of around 6000+RMB, which barely amounts to $1200 in SGD, or US$873.

This is something that was echoed by affiliates at the event as well. One of them, a boat captain by day, shared that that was the reason why he got into Affiliate Marketing. New to the game, he’s currently running CPI offers, earning some money to supplement his current income.

  • TIMING

The event was scheduled to last from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. The crowd peaked at 7:00PM, but the event started to wind down at around 9:00PM, with people starting to trickle off about two hours into the event, while those that stayed went up to the roof to relax. Definitely a different crowd from affiliate conferences in Russia or Europe, that enjoyed late night afterparties😉.

THE EXPERIENCE: BEIJING

Beijing doesn’t seem to be a hot meeting point for affiliates in China. The signup and turnup was lower than the other two events. This sentiment was expressed by our contacts in China before the event as well.

ENDING NOTES

So maybe scheduling an event near the coast during the peak of typhoon season wasn’t the best idea. Despite all that however, we felt that Affiliate World Conferences did a stellar job at organizing the whole thing, and making sure people stayed updated and informed.

It was great that they strove to improve the representation of China’s Affiliate Marketing Industry in the global industry. We’ll definitely keep a lookout for Affiliate World China Tours 2019! 😉

[1] China’s primary messenger app, which has inbuilt e-wallet, ride hailing, QR code scanning functions. It’s like Whatsapp, but with way more functions. Practically everyone in China uses it. A must to download and set up when you go to China.

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