Chinese social networks for Chinese in China!
China had 618 million Internet at the end of last year, according to the Information Center on the Internet in China. And 91% of Chinese Internet users have accounts on at least one social network. These networks, are however most of the time “Made in China” because the censorship applied by Chinese authorities, also called “Great Firewall”, blocks Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
Weibo, the source of information
This network is used by Chinese Internet users to share information publicly. It has 550 million registered accounts and 250millions users. Weibo users are generally urban youth since 70% of them are under 30 years old and live in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing …
The network owes its 50 million daily users to the chinese internet users’s lack of confidence in their traditional media. They see it as an interesting source of information and also as an alternative to the censorship that sometimes happens to be bypassed. Particularly through the rapid spread of information over the network, and its very active members. They indeed manage to create synonyms, which pronunciation is close to censored words, in order to speak freely.
WeChat, the private network
Created in 2011 by Tencent, and only developed on mobile. It is THE instant chat platform. The number of daily users has exceeded 100 million and 200 million users in China and over 400 million worldwide thanks to its English version.
Unlike Weibo, it is a private network where information is shared with contacts only. One can create a profile, then share photos, videos, and chat with friends just like Facebook in the West. The concept of QR code is developed on WeChat, each user has its own QR code, so it allows you to add friends or to follow business accounts.
Qzone, China’s MSN
Released in 2005, Tencent Qzone is much more of an instant messaging platform than a social network. It has over 600 million users, and over 400 million daily users via QQ. It is a kind of Chinese MSN that allows you to keep a journal publishing photos, videos or music. QQ groups are also very popular, groups of friends, alumni, passionate and then they chat.
Baidu Tieba, the complete forum
There is a community on Baidu, Baidu called Tieba literally means “bar post”. The forums of Baidu are grouped by broad themes. Users share information and ideas by sector, by type of information. Internet users can make comments, post pictures and videos up to 2GB.
Chinese social networks are used just as used or even much more used than those of the Western countries. The popularity of Chinese platforms is due to the same factors as their European and American cousins. Chinese Internet users like to keep in touch with their friends anytime discussing or sharing any kind of content, like messages, videos and pictures.
China has created its own social networking platforms to enable authorities to better monitor what is going on there. This does not prevent Chinese Internet users to compete with ingenuity to circumvent government censorship. The information sought on social networks are also considered more reliable by Internet users. Chinese social networks therefore have a much deeper informative function than in the West.
To go further
The impressive number of online presence on social networks is a great marketing tool for businesses wanting to communicate in China. That is why over 300,000 brands and have their official account on Weibo. Indeed, the network allows them to appeal to opinion leaders so that they influence their numerous followers by sharing information about a brand.
Morever on WeChat, users can become fans of brands that have an official account. This network has the advantage of being mobile, and can therefore geo-locate the information. Making it easier to promote certain events to a specific target of fans when operating events in a specific city.
Chinese social networks are a very interesting communication opportunity for companies looking to reach a significant portion of China’s population.