Global ticketing operators can learn from Chinese operators’ use of customer data, according to Wepiao, a major movie tickets platform.

Luke Xiang, vice president of owner Beijing Weying Technology, pointed to mobile uptake in Chinese ticketing compared to the US as evidence that Wepiao and its rivals are getting it right. In North America, on average, only 25 per cent of movie tickets are bought online, compared to around 80 per cent in China.

Wepiao, which sells around one million tickets per day, is embedded in China’s largest social networks — WeChat and QQ — which each have more than 800 million users. The two social media networks are owned by Tencent, which is a partner and investor in Weying.

Xiang told the Hollywood Reporter website that Wepiao and rivals Maoyan and Tao Piao Piao are able to increase sales by effectively using customer data in their marketing campaigns.

“As the audience uses the ticketing service to engage with movie-related content, check show times and buy tickets, they generate data, which becomes the moviegoing DNA of each individual audience member,” said Xiang.

“We know their moviegoing history in every detail: what kind of movies they like; what time they go to the movies — are they there on opening weekend or do they go later in the release; whether they buy tickets at regular pricing or only with discounts; if they go to the cinema by themselves or on dates or with friends; if they are a passive viewer or an active reviewer and influencer on social media; and so on.

“As we capture this very detailed data from the audience and cinemas, we are able to do big data mining and analysis that informs and facilitates digital marketing and distribution in a very targeted way — and in real time.”

Xiang added that mobile uptake in China has grown faster than in the West because many of its citizens actually owned smartphones before they ever saw a movie in the cinema.

“We had a unique opportunity to leapfrog legacy practices of other more developed markets,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

“We didn’t have a lot of baggage, and the whole industry was new and being built on the internet, for a very young audience. So there is a lot of innovation. In this sense, I certainly think it would be smart for US companies to look carefully at what’s happening in China.”