The future of China’s social media
Posted by the HIT board
This post comes from Jax Potter, an Account Manager at our sister agency Eulogy! London. Jax spent a week with DGC and attended Social Media Week in New York as part of our “Rising Star” exchange program. One of the seminars she attended was “The Social Media Future of China.”
The following post was originally shared on E!’s blog.
There are currently 618,000,000 internet users in China, making up 45.8% of the population. The access choice of these users is predominantly through a mobile device rather than on desktop. The user base is predicted to grow by a staggering 800,000,000 users by 2015, providing an even greater audience for brands to speak to.
Currently, Facebook and Twitter are both banned in China due to lack of content control and regulation by the government. There is a slight exception for this, in that businesses operating in Shanghai can have access to Facebook in order to sell and connect to international markets.
Obviously members of the public want to connect with each other in the social-sphere so local variations and amalgamations of multiple platforms are popping up all over China.
Probably the most well-known channel by brands internationally is Weibo, which offers users a similar experience to Twitter but with wider image sharing options. Government content regulation is beginning to be enforced on the platform and as a result, 28,000,000 people left the network last year.
Social Media Week speaker, Yuanbo Liu described emerging platform, YY as “Whatsapp meets Zynga, meets American Idol”. The network originally started as a way for gamers to share tips and talk to each other on level completion and what’s coming up next. It has now evolved to users uploading videos of themselves performing acts such as karaoke and spectators giving them virtual gifts as endorsement of their skills. Users can then cash in these virtual gifts for money and make a profit from their talents.
It doesn’t seem obvious what the brand opportunity is yet for selling to the Chinese audience through this network, but this is going to be one to watch.
One of the largest opportunities to brands wanting to attract and engage with a Chinese audience is capturing the interest of tourists. In Chinese culture, the act of giving and gifting is a very high family value and those going abroad are expected to bring back gifts and souvenirs as a token of their travels.
Carefully worded brand content can therefore have a big impact on companies looking to target Chinese tourists with British or international products.
The biggest local social media platforms in China at the moment are:
- Ren Ren
Interestingly, one of the biggest national days in China that provides opportunities for brands to sell in Singles Day. A day in which single people purchase gifts for themselves to ensure they receive something over Valentine’s Day.
This year, Single’s Day in China generated more money than Cyber Monday, demonstrating the huge opportunity for brands in China.
Looking towards the future, it seems content regulation is going to carry on being a big focus for the Chinese government so new social media platforms will continue to pop up.
Brands therefore, need to keep a constant eye on which networks are opening and look for ways to get their products in front of the Chinese audience.