In China, many young girls dream of one day getting married and owning their own house or apartment. However, rather than waiting to realize their dream, Chinese girls are moving into homes and looking for partners en masse — online. And to do it they are buying ‘homes’ at iPartment (or “love apartment” in Chinese), a social networking/gaming site that lets users interact with their ‘love apartment’ via pets, diaries, gardens, and games all while looking for someone to share it with.
iPartment has followed a simple growth strategy: build an online community for young, affluent women and the boys will follow. Well, the boys have followed — the site now boasts 20 million users — and so have the brands. The site generates 80% of its revenue from advertising and has attracted prominent brands including Dior, L’Oreal, Estée Lauder, Avon, Nivea, Lancôme, Starbucks, Adidas, Samsung, Nescafe, among others. The remaining 20% of revenues come from micropayments & memberships.
Most young, white-collar workers in China use the Internet more for entertainment than information and this is an interesting example of brands targeting young women, and increasingly young men, where they are online.