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Chinese Social Media

Changing the way you network in 2015... The social media landscape in China is a totally different view than we see in the West. That said, there are many similarities in the ways that people network.

We’re all human after all and enjoy communicating in comparable ways. So which are the main players in China and how do they compare to their Western counterparts? And are we set to see their influence penetrate the West?


There are 1.4 billion people in China, 45% of whom use the internet (that’s twice the population of the USA) and 91% of whom have a mobile phone. Net users spend 25 hours a week on the internet. When online, 86% are instant messaging, 80% are checking the news, 79% are using a search engine and 73% are streaming music. Group buying is the fastest growing internet activity in China (up 69% in Jan 2014).

Blocked apps and their equivalents

The Chinese government exerts a tight control on its people and the way they communicate and what they are able to access on the internet. Facebook has been banned for years in China for its ‘ability to spread rumours’. The social media sites that are banned have home-grown equivalents, which are far easier to censor!

  • Instead of YouTube, enjoy Tudou or Youku.
  • Can’t access Facebook, don’t worry, you can use Pengyou, Renren or QZone.
  • For Twitter fans there are Sina Weibo or Tencent Weibo.

Chinese Own Brands Prove More Popular

Whatsapp, Instagram and Vine aren’t banned in China, yet their Chinese rivals are far more popular. Many of them have more features and abilities and more connectivity across a number of different platforms.

QZone is the FaceBook equivalent in China and has 625 million users a month. That’s more than half of FaceBook’s total GLOBAL users.

Top Social Networks in China by registered usersTop Social Networks in China by active monthly users
WeChat – 600mQZone – 625m
Tencent Weibo – 580mWeChat – 355m
Sina Weibo – 556mSina Weibo – 129m
Renren – 206mRenren – 45m
Kaixin – 160mMomo – 40m


WeChat has 355m monthly active users (that’s 79% of Whatsapp’s total global monthly active users). It is the world’s second biggest chat app. Furthermore, it has 70million users outside of China.


WeChat is owned by Chinese holding company Tencent, which has a market value of US $150bn and is the fifth largest internet company in the world. Tencent has broader ambitions, meaning we could be seeing more of its products and services heading this way in the future. The company has already expressed an interested in penetrating the Western gaming market (oh yes, it is also China’s biggest games publisher, did we mention that?).

Tencent isn’t as widely known in the West, despite already enjoying the same revenues, popularity and successes as household giants such as Google, eBay and Facebook. It hasn’t specifically said that it aims to break the West with its social media offerings, but it has funded a number of start-ups and has adapted its popular apps for an international audience. The company is pretty secretive, but we predict seeing more of this tech giant in the future.


To find out more about how Webheads can help your business stay on top of social media and to discuss its benefits for your company, click here.

Weibo - Chinese Social Media
Pony Ma (CEO OF Tencent)