The social media landscape in China and how to use it

9/5/2022

It will probably not come to you as a surprise that China has the largest and most active social media market. It is an incredibly rich and diverse landscape with a huge amount of internet users (1 billion!), which is why many global brands are keeping their eyes on it. And, you should too!

Now, why is the Chinese social media landscape so interesting for brands seeking to get a foot in? Well, as mentioned above, the number of users can definitely count for something! A whopping 1 billion people are actively using the internet on a daily basis. More remarkable is the fact that 98% of these users use internet on their smart phones, bringing it closer to the people and creating a high level of dynamism. 

To cater to this mobile crowd China’s social media platforms are designed to be able to share content quickly and easily, at the push of button without any effort whatsoever.

While platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter dominate the western world, China works with a different set of platforms and has seen the rise of many innovative social platforms, on which users share opinions, get product recommendations and connect with each other. Examples are WeChat, Douyin (Tiktok), Xiaohongshu (Little Red book), Bilibili, etc. Each having its own type of target audience, catering to a certain type of content, with almost every platform having advertisement options available.

  

  • WeChat: China’s biggest social media app with 1.27 billion active monthly users. This versatile app developed by Tencent offers anything you can imagine: a Facebook/Instagram-like news feed called ‘Moments’, online games, shopping, didi (car haling), medical and financial services, etc. 
  • Douyin (Tiktok): Owned by tech giant ByteDance, Douyin is the biggest short-form video app with more than 600 million daily active users (DAU). It offers livestreaming, micro-vlogs, lifestyle content, business advice, and videos from local authorities.
  • Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book): a social e-commerce platform to share product reviews and shopping/travel experiences. It has more than 100 million monthly active users and a female population of about 90%. 
  • Sina Weibo: Develop by Sina Corporation, Weibo is still one of the biggest social media platforms in China and has more than 573 million monthly active users. Also known as the Chinese version of Twitter.
  • Bilibili: a video sharing platform with 271 million active users that started out as a place to share manga/anime, but has grown into a place to post videos on various topics, such as including anime, music, dance, science and technology, movies, drama, fashion and video games. It has a post-90s/00s user base.

As a brand or business, you should recognize the opportunity these platforms might be able to pose for you. However, stepping into this market needs thorough research and a dedicated approach to identify potential opportunities and to avoid missteps, since these have proven to be quite a gap to overcome. In recent years, even several big global brands that have had their presence in China for years were wiped out in an instant due to a lack of market insight, posting something offensive to the Chinese consumer, destroying their entire brand value.

As social media is so implemented in the habits of many Chinese consumers, learn to leverage online festivals to try and create an online boost. Over the years, a wide array of traditional as well as not so traditional festivals have popped up to try and catch consumers’ attention.

  • Chinese New Year: takes place in January-February every year, based on the Chinese lunar calendar. It is the biggest holiday and a in preparation for it many consumers will prepare gifts for their family members.
  • Valentine’s Day: 14 February every year. A date to buy sweets and flowers for your loved one(s).
  • 618: a day to celebrate the anniversary of Jingdong (jd.com), the second biggest e-commerce platform in China.
  • Double 11 (Single’s Day): the world’s biggest online shopping festival that takes place on 11 November. On this date and usually a few days beforehand, all major platforms will provide huge discounts.

The entire MyChinaWeb team in Europe and China is available to help you with your online marketing strategy and implementation in China. We combine local experience with a global outline. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any help.