Social media is taking a special role in people’s live. Speaking of the global popularity of social media, search engine, e-commerce platform and etc., the result would be quite different considering whether take in statistics in China. This is partly because of its large population and restrictions from the government. It is not easy to maintain safety for a developing country when it has a large population with different education level and various cultural and religious background.
The governmental protection against foreign giant competitors might seem to be unfair but has indeed helped the local social media in China to grow rapidly. After years of technological improvement and cultural establishment, the local ones have become more tailored to the national user’s habits and needs.
The chart of Most popular social networks worldwide in 2018 shown below is ranked by the number of active users. It has illustrated that WeChat, QQ, QZone, Douyin / Tik Tok, Sina Weibo and, Baidu Tieba are the most used Chinese social media networks worldwide respectively.
Basically, this result is in consistent with the current popularity of social media in China. Some have relatively low recognition and popularity worldwide, but they all have a large number of users inside China. So I will introduce these social media platforms in the following paragraphs.
Wechat was launched by Tencen in 2011 and has developed as an every-day app in China. It started as a mobile application and added Windows version for PC users afterward. Compared to other social media in China, Wechat is more international considering its succinct interface and high-end users.
It is not only a messaging application but also a social media platform and mobile payment app. Moreover, it is developing into an e-commerce platform as well. You can refer to a previous post about Wechat to know about the functions and features of it in details.
QQ & Q Zone
QQ is also developed by Tencent and has a longer history since 1999. It was positioned as an instant messaging software and social platform. Contrary to WeChat, QQ was established for PC at the beginning and lately developed its mobile version driven by competitive pressure. It focuses more on local users, especially the younger generation. Some children and adolescence don’t have the permission of having a phone, therefore they can only rely on QQ to contact their friends online.
What’s more, QQ online games is also a main attractiveness for them. Another attractiveness might be QZone, where users can share pictures or music, write blogs, make decorations and so on.
Nowadays QQ also has similar functions alike Wechat, such as video/audio calls, and QQ International available for foreigners. The culture of QQ is set to be more local and civil. Almost the entire generations of WeChat users have used QQ before and still keep their accounts.
One distinct product of QQ is its Mail service. Each user has a connected QQ email with no needs of registration separately. Users are able to send big files through QQ platform itself to their friends whenever they are online or offline, as well as through QQ email. QQ also offers enterprises official accounts to create company’s email – Tencent Exmail, which is common for Chinese companies/organizations.
Douyin / Tik Tok
Douyin, released in 2016, is the latest hot APP for making short-form mobile videos. It encourages users to ‘capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments’. Users can create videos with built-in effects and choose background music with various genres.
Everyone can be a video creator on Douyin easily. Thus, the dissemination speed and influence power of Douyin are amazing. One interesting case is that a normal school boy’s singing video taken in class has made the unknown song ‘That Girl’ by Olly Murs become a paid music on every music platforms in China.
Its international version Tik Tok has become extremely hot in Asia, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan. It becomes more known and used by wider international users, such as American, German, Canadian and Indian after merging with Musical.ly.
Recently, Douyin has released a Sunflower Plan to protect the younger from negative network impact. Some of its content and function are restricted to build a safer and healthier environment. Meanwhile, video clips could be under review and supervision to different degrees in different countries according to governmental requirements.
Sina Weibo is a microblogging social platform launched by Sina Corporation in 2009. To make it easy to undertand, it is known as the Chinese version of Twitter but mixed with some features of Facebook.
Based in China, Sina Weibo is one of the best platforms for exclusive information distribution. In a sense, it has become an important source for media monitoring and tracking of breaking news. Users can get to know the latest news about entertainments, sports, social issues and etc by seeing the live trending topics and hashtag.
On one hand, the national celebrities and stars are the top followees on Sina Weibo. On the other hand, it’s also a place for foreign celebrities and pop stars to attract attention in the Chinese market and interact with their Chinese fans. Among them, K-pop stars have the most followers and NBA stars might be the next. Football stars from international clubs gather more on Sina Weibo’s main competitor – Tencent Weibo.
Nevertheless, some foreign politicians also take Sina Weibo as a public diplomacy platform. For example, Australian former PM Kevin Rudd, President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro, British PM Theresa May and the former PM David William, Israeli former President Shimon Peres, and Indian PM Modi all have or had their official accounts on Sina Weibo. Their voices have enabled communication with Chinese netizens to different extents.
Baidu Tieba is a social communication platform established in 2003 by Chinese NO.1 search engine company Baidu. Just as its slogan says, it is born for your interests. It uses bars as mini-forums to gather and serve people who have the same interests. People can search for existing bars or create new ones. Members can share information in forum posts and take part in online/offline activities hosted by bar organizers. Between each bar, organizers can set up interactions as well.
What are the other social media platforms that interest you?
Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have specific interests in other popular social media by commenting below!