Corporate Case Studies | Generating Brand Awareness through Social Commerce

To many corporate observers, the startup world is daunting. Startups work at lightning-fast speeds, operate without oversight, and lack the typical structures of established companies. These differences, along with many other mismatches, render many corporate-startup relationships obsolete.

In order to address this gap, the Corporate Innovation team at Chinaccelerator has been releasing case studies detailing some of the most interesting and effective corporate partnerships from startups in the Chinaccelerator portfolio. Three case studies are released at a time, each addressing a different focus or industry. Each case study explores a successful corporate-startup partnership, demonstrating the potential of such business relationships.

In this edition of Corporate Case Studies, we will focus on social media based marketing for brands hoping to enter China. The three different cases describe marketing through an intelligent CRM system (OCheng), WeChat based Chat bots (Rikai) and finally through Key Opinion Leaders (Yumi).


The Sephora-OCheng case study covers how Sephora, a popular global makeup brand, was able to tap into the notoriously difficult 215 million user WeChat social e-commerce market. OCheng, a social CRM startup, helps its clients establish a personal relationship with its customers and followers through a careful balance of human judgement and digital automation. Through their partnership, Sephora was able to increase its WeChat following by 173%, member sign-ups increased by 228%, and most importantly, sales grew by 500%.

The Visa-Rikai case study explores Rikai Labs partnership with Visa. Visa, the financial service corporation, most well known for their widely used bank cards, was attempting to get a piece of the massive amounts spent by Chinese consumers when they travel. In China, Unionpay is the primary brand of Banking cards that people use, and with Chinese travelers spending around $261 billion on their trips abroad, Visa wanted to demonstrate their unique value proposition. Rikai Labs, a platform for chat based learning games, was able to use their AI chatbot to develop a tool useful for Visa. The partnership created the Travel Bot, a trained AI that mimics human customer services, offering travel advice and plans. Using KOLs and Influencers, Travel Bot was able to get involved in the Chinese millennial market, which accounts for over half of Chinese travelers, helping increase Visa’s brand awareness.

The Yumi-Lipaddict case study looks into how Lipaddict, a New York based beauty brand, was able to salvage its struggling China sales by finding a new partner. Lipadddict entered China through an expensive platform charging an annual fee of $25,000, and monthly retainers of $8,000, for a WeChat store and a bonded Chinese warehouse. Like many of these other cases, Lipaddict soon found out how difficult it was to sell in China’s fragmented E-Commerce market. Furthermore, in bonded Chinese warehouses, products are either sold or destroyed; they cannot be shipped back. Yumi was able to set up a new WeChat shop for Lipaddict and began a lean approach to marketing through KOLs and influencers. Yumi was able to help Lipaddict enter the market and sell in China successfully at 7% of the cost of Lipaddict’s previous partner.

To see each case study in full, please click the following links to download each case study:

The Sephora-OCheng Case Study: How Intelligent CRM Boosts Sales and Followers
The Visa-Rikai Case Study: How a Personalized Travel-Bot Built Customer Bonds
The Yumi-Lipaddict Case Study: Boosting Sales and Followers in China

Case studies written by Amanda Jin, Will Mallen, Jared Foxhall.

The Chinaccelerator corporate innovation team works to address the gaps between startups and corporations. If your company is looking to improve its innovation strategies, please contact to get in touch and check out the corporate innovation program.

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