Chasing Chinese consumers on social media

It's no surprise that social media is a popular forum for consumers and companies alike. These sites offer users the chance to connect with celebrities, brands and friends, while sharing their own thoughts and opinions on the world.

In China, the population does not shy away from creating one or more social media profiles on multiple platforms. In fact, research shows that around 80 per cent of internet users have more than one social media account on various sites. With an internet market of more than 670 million connected users, according to Internet Live Stats, the audience available on particular sites are massive and incredibly vocal.

For companies, social media monitoring in China is a critical investment. With millions of consumers posting, sharing and reading reviews and opinions on the various channels, businesses that are not watching could soon be left behind.

The history of social media in China

The Chinese Academy of Sciences first connected to the internet in 1994. In that same year, social media was launched in the form of online forums and communities. Instant messaging was the next step in the process, becoming mainstream around 1999.

From there, user review sites gained popularity in 2003, followed in 2004 by social-networking sites as we know them today - adding the capability to chat publicly and privately with other users. Microblogging was the next big player in 2009, as the popular site Sina Weibo was launched and offered users the ability to publish status updates, videos and other media.

Within the current landscape, social media has become a major influence on individual internet use and corporate marketing. With hundreds of millions of consumers talking online, which platforms should be on your radar?

Which sites are most popular in China?

There are a number of sites that offer different experiences to consumers. Knowing which are the most popular can help companies cut through the noise and find the discussions that really matter to them.

  • Wechatis perhaps the most popular social networking platform. The service is a mobile voice and text app that, with more than 600 million local and 100 million international users, gives consumers the ability to chat with friends instantly via voice messages, texts or images.
  • SinaWeibo offers microblogging services to consumers. This platform is used by over 40 per cent of the Chinese internet population and is therefore a significant market to be involved in.
  • Tencent QQ is a widely popular instant messaging service, with around 780 million active users. Approximately 100 million individuals are active on this platform at any one time.
  • Youku is the largest video site in China, where consumers can post and view user-generated and commercial videos.
With so many popular sites to keep track of, it pays to have a media monitoring strategy in place to make sure you don't miss any important social media updates.

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