19 March 2013

Chinese Social Media: Red Sun Rising – The Dawn of Social Media

Chinese social media

Red Sun Rising: The Dawn of Chinese Social Media

With connections playing an essential part in the Chinese business community, it is perhaps then little wonder that Chinese social media has blossomed. Becoming the edifice shaping Chinese relationship-building; the evidence of this is clearly demonstrated through the vast number of China’s 513 million netizens who are making use of these platforms. Rough figures equate it to be half of the total.

Due to the internal intervention the Chinese government conducts, it is close to impossible for external social media networks to penetrate the vast Chinese social media network market. Therefore, it is unsurprising that all of Chinas network platforms are indigenous. However some Chinese netizens do make use of formats such as VPN services. This allows them access to “western” social media sites such as Facebook. Despite this Chinese social media platforms have the advantage for advertising. This is due to a deep understanding of the subtleties of the nations consumers.

Here are the 5 key Chinese social media websites:

  • Tencent: Constructed from a foundation of the QQ instant messaging service. Many perceive this as the medium for the rank and file of the Chinese populace. Users simply activate a QQ account, which provides instant access to all the social media services which Tencent provides. It equates to a social media hub in its own right. In terms of users, it is true that Tencent’s social networking site: Pengyu has less users than its competitors: Weibo and Renren. However in terms of the total registered users to its various platforms, Tencent owns the largest online Chinese community.
  • Sina Weibo: To equate Weibo as Twitter’s Chinese younger sibling, is to massively downplay the sheer scale of operation which the site conducts. This is clearly demonstrated through Weibo having twice the number of active users as Twitter, and being the primary platform of use for 22% of China’s internet populace. This is mainly due to the concept of allowing users, to include videos and pictures in posts. A format which Twitter has only recently included. Purely in terms of users it is the world’s largest social media platform. Like Twitter, Weibo is used by celebrities, to establish and maintain direct contact with their hordes of fans and admirers.
  • Douban: Provides an open online forum for China’s increasing masses of intellectuals, providing movie, music and book reviews. Interestingly the site allows 80% access to non members, shown through the monthly visits of 80 million active viewers. Yet it only has a membership equating to approximately 60 million members.
  • Renren: Arguably the Chinese version of Facebook. Much of its membership stems from China’s student populace, however recently it has attempted to incorporate larger groups of the populations as a whole. The site boasts approximately 31 million active users per month, and a growing membership of over 147 million registered users.
  • Wechat: Initially this format was not set up as a Chinese social media site. It was previously named Weixin. The format provides text and voice applications for mobile phones. It also offers unique tools such as the “friend discovery” feature. However Wechat are constantly evolving and adapting their product, which now provides features such as photo share. Currently the site has a membership of over 100 million active users.