In the first five years of 21th Century, the social media market was dominated by the United States, especially considering the origins of Facebook and Twitter. However, in the next five years, China will become much more social media savvy, and it will have the largest population of social media users in the world.

The netizen demographics in China

A report by Internet World Stats revealed that the Internet population in China had reached 513 million as of December 2011, which is about 38 percent of the population in China, and 22 percent of the world’s users. In contrast, there are 245 million Internet users in the United States, which is 78.3 percent of the country population and 10.8 percent of the world’s users (Source: Internet World Stats). As of December 2011, the number of social networking users in China has reached 257 million, taking up 50% of China Internet users and 25.7% of the country’s population.

As a new McKinsey survey of 5,700 Internet users in China indicated, 95 percent of Chinese netizens living in Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 cities are registered on at least one social media site. In addition, the country has by far the world’s most active social media population, with 91 percent of respondents saying that they had visited a social media site in the previous six months, compared with 67 percent in the United States.

Cities in China can be divided into five tiers. Residents from Tier 1 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, spend more time online and are more brand-savvy and open to foreign brands in comparison with residents from other lower-tier cities. Most international companies focus on these three cities because they are home to China’s wealthiest and most sophisticated consumers. Tier 2 has around 17 markets, including developed provincial capitals like Hangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming, Ningbo, Harbin and Tianjin with at least 5 million people and up to about 30 million. Tier 3 encompasses about 40 less-developed provincial capitals as well as county capitals with more than 1 million people. Tier 4 includes dozens of cities and towns, with populations between 500,000 and 2 million, while Tier 5 includes hundreds of even smaller municipalities. (Source: China Digital Media: Trends in Usage and Advertising)

Major social networking sites in China

China has developed a unique digital ecosystem, which facilitates marketers to launch ad hoc campaigns by using different social media platforms. Social networking sites like Weibo, Renren, Qzone, Youku, and Nuomi have exploded throughout this country with the largest number of registered users in the world.

Sina Weibo, which means “microblogging” in Mandarin, is the most popular microblogging service in China with over 250 million registered users and is called the “Twitter of China”. Users can post personal updates with a limit of 140 Chinese characters, upload photos and videos, and message to others. Weibo builds a strong connection between users and high-quality content, usually sources from celebrities and key opinion leaders in certain sectors.

Renren is another leading real-name social network in China. “Ren” means “people” in Mandarin, suggesting that people can communicate with others. Like Facebook in terms of design and functions, Renren has more than 170 million registered users, mainly university students and white-collars. Renren’s revenue comes from display advertising, revenue shares from third-party game developers, and commissions from group purchasing and sales of virtual goods.

Tencent, a media conglomerate with notable influences in China’s lower-tier markets, started as an instant-messaging service I’m QQ, has expanded into online gaming, ecommerce and social network. Qzone, the largest nickname-based social network with over 500 million registered accounts in China, is popular among young teens and rural users via cross-promotional traffic from Tencent’s QQ Messenger.

Youku and Tudou are prominent video hosting services in China similar to YouTube. A large number user-generated video clips are posted on these websites and shared or spread virally online. In addition, Youku and Tudou have partnered with mammoth license holders, including television stations, distributors, and film and TV production companies in China that regularly upload media content on the sites.

Jiepang, the Chinese location-based service, is proved to be a savvy marketer with 1.5 million users. In 2012, it teamed up with Starbucks to launch a social marketing campaign, helping smartphone-toting singletons to find a potential date for Valentine’s Day. This campaign used both the Jiepang app and in store postcards to connect Chinese single folks and win prizes.

Major e-commerce sites in China

Nuomi, one of China’s best-known group-buying websites, provides consumers with daily or monthly deals on the best local services and cultural events. Nuomi uses collective buying power to offer unbeatable prices and provide a win-win situation for businesses and consumers.

Taobao is an online shopping marketplace for consumers in China. Founded by Alibaba Group in May of 2003, Taobao Marketplace facilitates transactions between individual consumers and a wide range of sellers such as retailers, wholesalers and other individuals. Its service caters to consumers and businesses in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Similar to eBay, sellers are able to post brand-new and used goods for sale on the Taobao Marketplace either through a fixed price, a negotiated sale or by auction. Buyers can judge the sellers’ credit from their selling prestige or their history of comments and complaints.

Alibaba is the largest online business-to-business (B2B) trading platform for small and medium-sized businesses in China. Alibaba serves as a directory of Chinese manufacturers and connects them to other companies around the world looking for suppliers. It mainly operates two marketplaces: the first is an English language international marketplace catering to global importers and exporters; the second is a China marketplace that facilitates domestic business-to-business trade in China.

The following infographic, provided by Thomas Crampton, showcases a contrast of social media platforms between China and America:


Here is the Chinese Version of this blog:

在21世纪的前五年,美国在社会化媒体市场中占据着主导地位,尤其因为它是Facebook 和Twitter的发源地。 然而,在未来的五年里,拥有世界上最大的互联网使用者的中国,即将引领世界社会化媒体市场的发展 。


据英特网世界数据指出,截止到2011年12月,中国的英特网人口已经达到了5.13亿。其占据了中国11亿总人口的38%, 且占据了世界英特网使用人口的22%。 相比而言,美国的英特网使用者仅有2.45亿人,分别占据美国总人口的78.3% 和 世界英特网使用人口的10.8%。(来源:英特网世界数据)截止到2011年12月,中国社会化媒体使用者已经高达2.57亿人,占据了一半的中国英特网使用者,并且占据中国总人口数的27.5%。


中国的城市可以划分为五个级别。一线城市包括北京,上海和广州。一线城市的居民花在网上的时间比别的城市的居民多,并且他们更容易接受国外的品牌。很多国际企业侧重于投资这三个城市是因为居住在这三个城市的消费者是全国最富有,并且其消费习惯也是最复杂的。二线市场主要集中在17个发展中的省会城市,其中包括杭州,重庆,成都,昆明,宁波,哈尔滨和天津。这几个城市都拥有500万到3000万左右的人口。三线城市覆盖40多个欠发达的省县级城市。这些城市拥有大概100万人口。四线城市包括不计其数大大小小的城镇。这些城镇的人口大约有50万到200万左右。五线城市包括成千上万个更小的直辖市。(来源: China Digital Media: Trends in Usage and Advertising )


具有中国特色的社交媒体格局已逐渐完善。中国市场营销者可以利用不同的社会化媒体策划不同的营销活动。 中国的社交网站如微博,人人网,Q空间,优酷,糯米网,和街旁已蓬勃发展,并且拥有世界最大的注册用户。


人人网是中国另一个主要的的实名社交网。人人网的设计和功能可与美国的Facebook相媲美,并且人人网的注册用户已经超过了1.7亿人,主要是大学生和白领。人人网的利润主要来自于广告, 其收入来源于第三方游戏开发商,而其佣金来源于团购和产品销售。

腾讯公司是一家媒介企业集团,起源于即时通信工具 I’m QQ并且 在中国的低端市场具有较大的影响力。目前公司业务已经拓展到网络游戏开发,电子商务和社交媒体平台。Q空间 作为中国最大的匿名社交网站已经拥有5亿注册用户,并且主要通过与QQ通信工具的交叉推广活动形式而盛行于青少年和乡村使用者。





淘宝是中国主要的网上交易平台。 淘宝网成立于2003年5月,由阿里巴巴集团投资创办。淘宝促进消费者和卖家包括零售商,批发商,以及其他个人卖家在网上进行交易。淘宝网覆盖了中国内陆,香港,澳门和台湾。和eBay很相似,卖家能够在淘宝上以规定的价格,促销价,或者以拍卖的形式出售新产品或者二手产品。买家可以通过卖家的销售声誉,网友评论记录来判断卖家的信誉。



下面这个信息图标由Thomas Crampton提供,展示了中国社会化媒体和美国社会化媒体的不同之处:


Show more