Yi-Ru Regina Chen

Assistant Professor,
Department of Communication Studies,
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong



Yi-Ru Regina Chen is Assistant Professor of public relations in the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University. Her research areas include strategic communication and social media engagement, government affairs, health informatics, and corporate social responsibility in Greater China. She has published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Communication Research Report, Journal of Communication Management, Information, Communication & Society and Business Yearbook. In additional to serving on journal editorial boards, she is also 2015/2016 Page Legacy Scholar of the Arthur W. Page Society (USA).



Title and Abstract:

Factors Influencing Donor Engagement in Mobile SNS: A Study of WeChat in China

Launched in 2011, WeChat is a mobile microblogging and social networking site (SNS) in China. It has attracted more than 600 million individual users and 8.5 million organization users (mostly corporate; Smith, 2015) due to its unique, convenient, and diverse functionalities making its platform an integral part of a user’s life. WeChat combines the features of instant text/voice messaging, photo and video sharing, one-to-many messaging (group chat), information exchange and socialization, and e-payment (WeChat peer-to-peer Wallet), and is a dominant social media platform in China.

Most previous research on social networking sites in China, however, has focused on Weibo and RenRen and on the comparison between Weibo and Twitter. Yet, unlike Weibo or Twitter, which are open-source, WeChat is a closed-source SNS that can be used to facilitate one-to-one communication between a corporate public account and its subscriber via personalized content. Moreover, research on WeChat communication has mainly focused on corporation publicity or marketing. With its convenient and interactive multi-media features, WeChat’s social media platform creates values that facilitate relationships between non-profit-organizations and their donors in China by cultivating awareness and information, trust, transparency and convenience.

The purposes of this study are two-fold: (1) to conceptualize how WeChat can bring the above-mentioned four values to NPO-donor relationships via its features, and (2) to explore predictors for WeChat donations by employing technology acceptance model (TAM) and commitment-trust theory. Random online-surveyed data of 150 Millenniums (those born in the period 1980 to 2000) in mainland China will be analyzed to examine WeChat donation predictors. Research results will provide insights into NPO strategic communication on WeChat for effective donor engagement in China. Theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.



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