Leading China Social Media Management Platform KAWO Raises $5 Million To Empower Chinese Marketing Teams
Enterprise social media management platform KAWO has raised US $5 million from Sequoia China Seed Fund. KAWO will use this new investment to accelerate digital transformation in marketing teams across China, where workplace adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) is estimated to be 10 years behind the West.
“Marketing teams have been working in the same inefficient ways for years and hoping for different results. The performance of their social channels is declining, meanwhile teams are burned out from working overtime. It’s time to work smarter, not harder,” said Alex Li, CEO of KAWO.
Built in China, for China, KAWO is the only platform that connects to major Chinese social platforms WeChat, Weibo, Douyin and Kuaishou. KAWO’s SaaS platform starts from $3,000 per year, providing brands with a comprehensive planning and analytics solution at an affordable price.
Founded in Shanghai, China in 2017 by Alex Duncan and Brian van Damme, KAWO has built an industry-leading, user-friendly platform providing global companies with social media planning and analytics. KAWO is trusted by more than 500 global brands across 12 industries, ranging from finance and government to sports, luxury & entertainment. International brands using KAWO include Bundesliga, The North Face, Ritter Sport, Samsung, and Vera Wang.
While established players like Emplifi, Hootsuite, Sprinklr & Sprout Social battle it out in the West, Chinese companies are still using spreadsheets and group chats to manage their socials. China has a radically different social media ecosystem. With Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter being unavailable, Western social media management platforms struggle to serve the needs of teams in China.
KAWO’s well-received 2020 Guide highlights that the Chinese internet is more separated than ever from the West. Effective from Nov 1st 2021, China’s new Personal Internet Privacy Law (similar to EU’s GDPR) will further deepen the challenges faced by Western SaaS platforms in penetrating the Chinese market.
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Given the situation, it’s surprising there isn’t more focus on ROI; with its booming digital economy, the competition for attention among brands is fierce. Taking China’s top social app WeChat as an example – 79% of their 1.2B MAU follow less than 20 brand accounts and average open rates have dropped to less than 3%. Meanwhile, labor costs have risen and employee turnover is sky-high.
Teams are waking up to realize that there is an urgent need for greater efficiency and increased marketing effectiveness. “KAWO will use the funding to invest in machine-learning to reduce manual labour, making marketing teams more productive and enable smarter decision making. We want to get better at answering their most pressing questions,” said Co-founder Alex Duncan.
Qingsheng Zheng, partner of Sequoia China, said,”The KAWO team are a step ahead in seeing the opportunity to build a SaaS platform of social media account management for the Chinese market. KAWO has not only proven the market opportunity but also developed a state-of-the-art product.”
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