In its ongoing quest to enable bridezillas around the world, The *Knot* parent company XO Group Inc. is expanding its presence in China’s $62 billion wedding market. XO’s Ijie.com, a portal providing Western-style content about weddings, relationships and pregnancy to the Chinese consumer, has partnered with Chinese online media company Sina (NSDQ: SINA) to launch a Weddings channel on Sina.com.
Sina.com is one of the most popular infotainment portals in China, with 170 million daily unique visitors and 1.3 billion daily page views. Sina also owns microblogging service Weibo.
Western-style weddings are increasingly popular among affluent (or, as the press release calls them, “high-value”) Chinese couples. XO Group international brand director Ting-Ai Kuei told paidContent that 80 percent of Chinese couples now incorporate Western traditions-white wedding gowns, cake-cutting, ceremonies in “non-religious chapel-style buildings”-into their weddings.
“The average age for marriage is coinciding with the first wave of children from the one-child policy,” Kuei says. “Young women and men are seeking their life advice more from their peers and experts and less so from their parents, who had a very different upbringing and life experience. This is where Ijie.com comes in.”
The Knot (NSDQ: KNOT) launched Ijie.com (translation: “love knot”) in 2010 after noticing that affluent Chinese brides were visiting its U.S. site “looking for ways to personalize their weddings with a western twist.” Ijie.com has a Chinese team curating the Western content for Chinese brides and also includes local content, message boards, directories and deals for brides in major Chinese cities.
Ijie.com also works with dramatically different regional differences within China: “A wedding in Beijing traditionally starts in the morning, while a wedding in Tianjin, only two hours away, will almost always take place in the afternoon. In the south, the banquet food is the most important part of a wedding, while in the north an upscale venue is a must,” Kuei says.
It’s taken decades for American weddings to become as commercialized as they are today (the U.S. wedding market is now estimated at $72 billion). XO hopes to speed up that process in China. “In China, weddings are traditionally less about the couples and more of a family experience,” Kuei says. “However, this trend is slowly changing as couples seek out a wedding that expresses their individuality. And while Chinese girls may not grow up dreaming of being a princess bride, we know that it is universal for women from all cultures to want to look beautiful and have a memorable wedding.”
The Knot is the #1 wedding website in the U.S., claiming 80 percent market share and, according to Nielsen, 1.9 million unique monthly visitors. XO also owns the brands The Nest, The Bump, and WeddingChannel.com, and The Knot has a joint venture licensing deal in Australia.