Both for my personal use and for our companies, we have embraced Social Media – or New Media as we like to call the very much integrated media landscape.
For Social Media, we write blogs, are active on Facebook and Twitter and share photo moments on Pinterest. In fact, we have a proper New Media Strategy. And we are not alone. More than only a socializing platform for individuals, most companies nowadays are active on at least one or two social media platforms.
Did you know, however, that although the internet in China hosts the largest base of net users in the world, they do not use the same social platforms as in the rest of the world? This means that if your company or brands have a presence in China and you would like to target their internet users via social media, you cannot rely on Facebook, Twitter and the likes – in fact, many of these platforms are banned!
Many websites we use on a daily basis are blocked in China – see the list. If you are interested in Social Media the most noteworthy ones you will not be able to use in China, are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, BlogSpot and WordPress.
So, if China has the most internet users, how much do they rely on Social Media? Well, according to techinasia.com, 597 million people in China use social networking.
Techinasia.com also shares this handy chart of the Top Ten Social Media Platforms used in China:
- Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo are similar to Twitter
- Tencent’s QZone, Tencent’s Pengyou, Renren and Kaixin are more like Facebook.
- WeChat is similar to Whatsapp – only one of a few similar quick message applications available.
Just out of interest, the latest global figures of active users on the platforms that are blocked in China:
- Facebook: 1.23 billion
- Twitter: 243 million
- YouTube: 1 billion
If you want to have an online presence in China, you will need to use a different platform than what we are accustomed to and you will have to understand the Chinese social media user.
We have been dealing in China for a while now and the different culture, customs and language can be a real challenge. Doing your research and getting a trusted Chinese partner will prove beneficial when strategizing and implementing social media in China.
chinamarketingtips.com shares 10 features of Chinese social media users to keep in mind:
- Chinese social media users are willing to share more personal information online than a typical Western user
- A typical netizen in China is more likely to follow brands than a typical user in the West. On average, the Chinese would follow 8 different brands
- China’s netizens spend 41% of their online time on Social Networks
- 77% of Chinese believe users believe that a social media presence makes a brand more attractive
- The average Chinese social media user has 2.78 social media profiles
- 40% of Chinese netizens create content, more than twice the rate in the USA
- Chinese consumers do not hesitate to write positive comments about a brand but are also more likely to share negative experiences online
- On average, Chinese users spend 5 hours per week on shopping online
- 81% of China’s younger internet users would check online comments before making a purchase decision
- 66% of Chinese users access the internet from their mobile devices
While it is wonderful to have social media platforms in place, creating relevant and interesting content is very important to ensure follower engagement and while your story will be the same, you might have to change the way you package it to make it interesting and accessible to your Chinese consumer.
In 2013, China’s mobile shopping market reached 167.64 billion Yuan (USD 27.459 billion) and the size of online shopping by PC is nearly 1600 billion Yuan (USD 262.08 billion). (Read more about the online shopping figures) This together with the fact that the average Chinese citizen follows 8 brands, 43% of them are interested in products their friends share and 38% will take a shopping decision based on a social network recommendation, it is clear that having an online presence cannot be ignored.
Getting an effective and active social media presence in China will be a challenge, but I can’t see how we can afford not to take it on!