With 668 million active Internet users, which is almost double the population of America; China has seen a dramatic increase of Social Networks users in 2015. The mainland population in China is prohibited by censorship laws from using the dominate social networks of other countries such as Facebook, and Google+. In fact, among the 668 million active Internet users in China, there are 659 million who are active on social networks. That’s 98% of the Chinese Internet users and almost 48% of the total Chinese population. Therefore, a solid understanding of the development of the social media networks in China is very necessary.
Here are 5 Chinese social media trends I’ve found for you:
Mobile devices dominate social media use:
According to a research from We Are Social, there were roughly 100,000 active Chinese users per day for the past year with a 6% (36 million) total annual growth of Internet users. Much of this growth was contributed by the improvement of the Internet infrastructure and mobile access. Today, over 89% of the Chinese population uses their mobile devices to surf the Internet, especially in rural areas.
The total number of social media users in China is 659million while 574 million (87.1%) of them use mobile devices to access to the social networks. This takes into account only 42% of the total Chinese population. Optimizing for mobile is vital not only for the social network websites but the services and products on these social networks need to make mobile optimization a priority when generating their strategies.
E-payment on social media are well-accepted in China:
Mobile payment has been one of the most important services integrated with the social networks and their corresponding applications. On Wechat, for example, the users are allowed to buy food, online shopping, order taxis, or even pay their home bills. The Red Packet campaign Wechat hosted during the Chinese New Year (It’s a tradition to give red packets with cash to kids, friends, and relatives during New Year.) allowed the public to transfer money from their bank account through e-red packets, and was used 1 billion times on 1 night of Chinese New Year.
Currently, over 400 million Chinese people use Wechat payment, for many of their payments everyday. This suggests the ‘broader move by social messaging platforms to turn their communication tools into ‘lifestyle platforms,’ one-shops for socializing, shopping and even transportation (source).
- Dating apps get popular:
Momo, one of the top popular Chinese dating apps, has been listed on the US stock market, accounts for over 60 million users every month, and has seen a stable increase for the past year. Jiayuan.com (世纪佳缘.com in Chinese), the currently largest Chinese internet dating website in China has over 120 million active users registered and provides service almost everywhere in the country.
Analysts believe the industry is going to see more aggressive scaling in future, with the line between dating platforms and social media blurring.
Social media become the new central shopping platform:
Social Media marketing is attractive for small and medium businesses because of its low cost, target customer pinpointing and effective customer interactions. Many large-scale businesses are trying this new marketing, hoping for decent results.
Burberry’s WeChat campaign ‘From London to Shanghai’ is a unique experience using literature and art and is rich enough to interact with.
Users start the experience by shaking their phone, and are then brought into London’s foggy morning – rub out the fog in the screen, and touch the London river in the image rippling it – then start your journey to Shanghai. This H5 is one of the most sharable items on WeChat.
Even among the expat, Wechat payments are a trend. TailorMadeChinese.com say that their (expat) customers are turning more and more to Wechat Payement or Alipay to pay their fees.
Closed-circle or 1-to 1 chats are most common:
Just like most everywhere else in the world, chat apps are the most popular on social networks in China. Though most of the effective conversation and information exchanges that take place on the Chinese social media platforms (Wechat, for example) are built on 1-to-1 or a small group base. This is different from the major social networks outside of China such as Facebook or Instagram that are a post-to-public model.
This is why the chat apps, like Wechat, are called a closed circle environment. Users have more access to the information about and conversations with the people or communities they know or have been familiar with.
To take advantage of this ‘intimate’ nature of the social networking in China, marketers must concentrate more effort on developing high-quality content as well as organic information that is original, quickly consumable and shareable. Otherwise, the effectiveness of the campaigns or marketing materials will disappear quickly without any results.