The Top Social Media Channels in China

China has an enormous ecosystem of social media channels and platforms and the Chinese have embraced all things social and mobile. There are a massive range of social media platforms in China, some of them similar to those found and used in the west, some of them the same as the west uses and some completely unique to China.
Below is a list of the most famous social media channels, these can be split into several distinct categories;
Instant messaging: QQ and Wechat being by far the most famous and ubiquitous examples
Microblogging: Weibo
Multimedia Sharing: Tudou and Youku
Social Networking: RenRen
Business Networking: Linkedin, MaiMai
Online Forums: Douban
Some of these like WeChat are similar to services used in the west but have managed a sophistication far beyond the western frontrunners. Whereas WhatsApp is still essentially a messaging app WeChat has grown its reach into many other aspects of Chinese online and offline social life.
These social media platforms allow people to interact and share whether for business or pleasure, and social sharing as entered every conceivable part of Chinese life.
Social media is an ever expanding suite of technologies which need peoples use and involvement to survive, the bigger and more comprehensive these online social ecosystems become the more useful and unavoidable they become. As an officially socialist country, though that is a topic for another discussion, ideas of society and social circles are very important throughout Chinese life. People have lived in close proximity to each other for years, interfering in each other’s daily and family lives much more so than in the personal space and privacy loving west. This is a social element unique in China and has aided the rapid adoption and massive reach of these social media channels.
The west often struggles to align the love of privacy with the desire to use and enjoy these social networks and this may have hindered their adoption a little, in China the platforms have not had this to contend with. Social media requires and thrives upon participation and the Chinese love to get involved. Growing up frequenting KTV’s in many way the average Chinese person is much more outgoing and happy to expose themselves publicly than people in the west. This also allows them to use social media in a much more comprehensive manner, often documenting and sharing every aspect of their lives for their friends and connections to see.
People in China are using social media to connect to what’s important to them in new ways. GuanXi (relationships) are highly valued in China, and social media’s ability to allow you to build these networks also provides a unique value aspect to their social media behaviour.
Social media in China is very sophisticated and constantly evolving, anyone wanting to understand and use it for business or marketing needs first to decide what their goals are and then decide upon the right platform. The Chinese are very unforgiving of obvious advertising and poorly disguised marketing tactics on social media so caution is advised when drawing up your content too.
If anyone knows of any other social media sites not listed above but worth noting, please do leave a comment. Questions also as always are very welcome.

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