Made in China: the world’s largest social media landscape

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Following the Linkfluence infographic presenting China's top 10 social media sites, we have looked deeper into the features, functions and opportunities each platform provides in order to reach the increasingly important Chinese market.

To discover what's new in 2017, visit our latest blog post: Chinese Social Media: a Marketing Masterclass...

1. Tencent QQ

tencent penguin

Why is it key in the Asian social media landscape?

QQ has the largest user base, with almost 1 billion active monthly users. It holds the world record for simultaneous connection to its platform with 210 million users connected at the same time on 3rd of July 2014 at 12:52pm.

What is unique about it in the Asian social media landscape?

• The platform synchronises Instant Messaging software (QQ) with other online services and features such as, blogs, microblogs, games, email and online payment

• It is a desktop and mobile messaging service

What types of brands are using it?

Both local and international brands from all sectors use QQ. In July 2014, Xiaomi, the "Chinese Apple" launched an exclusive sale of its Hongmi Smartphone

How do brands use it for marketing?

• Email marketing via QQ Mail

Social graph data offering, allowing brands to leverage fan and follower networks

• Sharing information amongst interest groups

2. WeChat


Why is it key in the Asian social media landscape?

WeChat has surpassed the simple functions of an ordinary communication platform, with users booking taxis, tables and flights, transferring money, making investments, shopping and much more. It has an innovative goal to connect everything.

Over 8 billion “red envelopes” were sent over WeChat during Chinese New Year 2016. The app accommodated more online transactions over the Chinese New Year period than Paypal had throughout the entirety of 2015.

What is unique about it in the Asian Social Media landscape?

• Instant messaging combined with e-Commerce

• The WeChat audience is composed of users that relish in engagement and are open to getting involved in app-based activity, such as shopping via an app, rather than on the web

What types of brands are using it?

Both local and international brands from all sectors.

Coca-Cola, Tiffany & Co. and Mercedes-Benz have each demonstrated the great potential of WeChat marketing through highly successful social campaigns.

How do brands use it for marketing?

• Set up of HTML5 mini sites specifically designed for access via WeChat

• Loyalty Card, a CRM tool within WeChat that gives users the opportunity to find nearby locations of retail stores, receive discounts, promotions, points, and rewards

• Influencer marketing



Why is it key in the Asian social media landscape?

Sina Weibo attracts the largest number of companies, organisations, public figures and celebrities, each desiring direct communication with consumers, it is often dubbed as “The Twitter of China”.

What is unique about it in the Asian Social Media landscape?

• Weibo has created a new space for discourse and debate for the Chinese community. Official divisions, including the police and local governments have created Weibo accounts to communicate with the public and to receive feedback

• Sina Weibo goes far beyond Twitter’s functionalities. It is a microblogging platform that also offers the option of long-form Weibo - a long form post can be up to 10,000 characters and offers customisation features such as font style and size. It is possible to share multiple images and videos at one time, compose polls and file share (inclusive of PDF, MP3 & DMG)

What types of brands are using it?

All global brands with a social media strategy should have a Sina Weibo account.

The most followed accounts on Weibo are celebrity accounts. British football superstar David Beckham, boasts almost 6 million followers.

How do brands use it for marketing?

• Fashion brand, Tommy Hilfiger, released content around its 30th anniversary fashion show in Beijing (May 2015). Conversation around the event triggered a 2000% increase in its Weibo page visits, raising engagement by 1,900%. The THF stores in Beijing saw a 21% increase in sales and its Chinese e-commerce business nearly doubled

• Interaction and engagement: Weibo is a must-have social platform for both Chinese and global brands to connect with Chinese consumers - Weibo claims a 76% year-on-year increase in “interactivity”

• A pool of insights for this increasingly important market (Radarly can provide Weibo insights)

• Influencer marketing

4. Baidu Tieba

baidu-tieba (1)

Why is it key in the Asian social media landscape?

Baidu Tieba plays host to online Chinese communities and is part of the Baidu group. Baidu is China’s most used and most influential search engine.

What is unique about it in the Asian Social Media landscape?

• Forum-like platform based on keywords

• Tieba is home to the biggest and most active online Chinese communities, with over 200 million account holders, and more than 8 million ‘bars’ (forums)

• Easy to use – do not need an account to view content

• Good online visibility (Baidu as its parent)

What types of brands are using it?

A variety of brands use the platform to gain consumer insights. Online gaming is a particularly popular conversation subject; the World of Warcraft Bar has a membership total of 6 million users.

How do brands use it for marketing?

• Targeted advertising through reaching out to interest groups on Community pages

• Engage with audience to trigger high following and high content ratings to increase brand visibility (on Tieba Community page)

• Crisis management – ability to oversee brand discussion and censor posts to avoid tarnishing brand image (spam and negative discussion)

5. Douban


Why is it key in the Asian social media landscape?

Douban is the primary review based social network site in China. Chinese consumers are strongly influenced by personal recommendations and so content on this platform can largely impact brand/product credibility.

What is unique about it in the Asian Social Media landscape?

• Users predominantly share opinions and thoughts on topics such as music, films, culture, books and events

• Popular among the growing middle class users as it is centred around lifestyle and expressing one’s self

• Users do not have to register an account to use the site

What types of brands are using it?

Luxury brands and brands within the creative industries.

With 400,000 page visits, a brand that has been successful on Douban is German manufacturer Montblanc (manufactures luxury writing instruments, watches, jewellery and leather goods).

How do brands use it for marketing?

• Word of mouth marketing - reviews/rating

• Online to Offline Marketing - Users can organise events around their interests and involve and invite other users via discussion groups and fan pages

• Interaction with consumers on discussion pages or owned brand pages (Brand stations)

• Audience research: Spotting trends

6. Tencent Renren


Why is it key in the Asian social media landscape?

Renren is a classic platform, with almost 100 million active monthly users. It belongs to the first generation of Chinese social media, and was one of the first real-name registration social networking services in China. However due to the platform struggling to capitalise from this approach, it is steering towards becoming more of an online gaming portal.

What is unique about it in the Asian Social Media landscape?

• It has a very specific user demographic – it is regarded as the platform for university students

• It has been referred to as “The Facebook of China”

What types of brands are using it?

There are very few big brand newcomers on Renren, although original account holders continue to use their account. Popular brands on RenRen include beverage brands Coca-Cola and Budweiser.

How do brands use it for marketing?

• Using Renren advertising, brands can target users to effectively deliver the right message to the right people

• Creation of interactive games - In 2010, Dell introduced a hybrid campaign: an online game with a coupon promotion. Points were earned through playing the game, which could then be used to redeem Dell products

7. pengyou

Pengyou (“friends” in English) is a Chinese social discovery website founded in 2010. It allows users to connect with other users and adopts a very Facebook-like approach to social networking.

8. Kaixin

Kaixin is a Chinese social networking service with an audience demographic of white-collar city workers. Its integrated features include blogging, photo sharing, and gaming.

9. Diandian

Diandian is a basic light blogging social community that enables users to post text, videos, images and other forms of content.

10. Jiayuan

Jiayuan is a user-focused online dating platform in China.

To find out about how Linkfluence can help your business source valuable insights within the Asian market, get in touch or request a demo today!

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