Social Media Usage: A Focus on China

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Social media usage: A focus on China

Paul Gunn, Social Business Apprentice: Whilst writing my previous blog post “Social media usage: A focus on India” I found some very interesting data on China which inspired me to write this post. This post is also part of a series of blogs that I have written which each focus on the usage of social media in different countries e.g. Poland and Russia.

More Facebook users in China than 6 EU countries combined

  • 95 million users in China is more than the amount of users there are in France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain and the UK combined (86 million).

 

The first thing I looked into in my research was the amount of Facebook users there are in China in comparison with other countries. I looked at many different countries data e.g. India, USA and countries in the EU and saw that China had a fairly large proportion of the total world users of Facebook. China has just under 95 million active users which is a low amount of users for a country of China’s population, however when putting this figure into perspective this is a massive amount of users for two reasons:

  1. Facebook is officially blocked in China
  2. 95 million users in China is more than the amount of users in France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain and the UK combined (86 million).

Local social networks dominate

  • The top seven most used social networks in China are Chinese

 

The power of local social networks is something we aren’t used to in the UK however in Poland and Russia there is a similar situation to China. In Poland, Facebook is still the number one social network however Polish Nasza-Klasa is the second most popular and growing and in Russia the two Russian social networks lead the way with Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki being number one and two. In China the top seven most popular social networks are all Chinese.

Sina Weibo is the most used social network in China having over 280 million active users. To put this figure into context, that is over 45 million more users than the whole population of Indonesia (which is the 4th most populated country in the world). Number two is QZone having just under 240 million active users and then Tencent Weibo which has just over 230 million active users.

The power of local social networks isn’t the only reason why Chinese social networks are dominating social media usage in the country. The fact that many major foreign social networks e.g. Facebook and Twitter are officially banned in China must be a big reason why they feature so low down in the rankings. With that said, the fact that Facebook has 95 million users in China must mean that it can’t actually be very hard to get access to it. If Facebook is not that hard to get access to and people really wanted to use it, they could get access to it just like the 95 million people who currently do. So even if it wasn’t banned it could be that people wouldn’t use it as much they do the Chinese networks.

Chinese social networks on the rise globally

Chinese social networks are starting to have a larger impact globally with a few Chinese networks growing rapidly worldwide. QZone is now the third most popular social network in the world having over 700 million users worldwide. The platform is mainly only used in Asia in countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, although it is used on a small scale in the US. Alexa have reported that over 95% of QZone users are in Asia.

Another popular Chinese platform is WeChat which is a mobile text and voice messaging service similar to Whatsapp. In Q1 of 2013, WeChat had 5.83 million users outside of China however at the end of Q3 2013, WeChat had 61.48 million users outside of China (according to GlobalWebIndex) which is an increase of over 950%.

Youth dominate social media usage

  • 16-34 year olds in China make up a minimum of 72% of social media users

 

16-34 year olds in China make up a minimum of 72% of social media users (in terms of the platforms that I looked at) which is a huge proportion of the social media users.  This statistic reached 78% on RenRen and Tudou and its 77% on Google+ and Facebook, which is a very high proportion of the total users which I really didn’t expect to see.

In the UK the Google+ usage under the age of 35 is 57% which is much lower than China however the proportion is much smaller when I looked at Germany, USA and Russia which had 42%, 46% and 47% of its users under the age of 35 respectively. On Facebook there is a similar trend with China having a much higher percentage of its users under the age of 35 (77%)  than in other countries e.g. UK, USA and Russia which have 46%, 42% and 48% of its users under the age of 35 respectively.

Tablets dominate device usage

  • Tablets are the most used device to access social media

 

Tablets are the most common device to access social media in China and the most popular device to use for every social network is a tablet. This a surprising statistic because I recently did a similar study to this based on India and tablets were the least used device to access social media.

I believe the reason behind China having such a high tablet usage is down to the fact that tablets can be bought very cheaply in China. There have been many Chinese companies creating tablets and selling them cheap which seem to be very popular.