Chinese social media landscape

In China, because of the “Great Firewall”, Chinese Internet users can’s get access to those common social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. However, this does not mean we don’t use social media platforms. In contrary, we are pretty vibrating in social media, just using different ones.

Here are some simple facts:

  • 36% Chinese Internet users open social media sites as their portal page to Internet;
  • Chinese Internet users spend more time than their counterparts such as Japanese and Americans;
  • China has 513 million social media users, which is the largest demographic numbers worldwide.
  • The biggest Chinese social media platform has approximately 784 million users mainly in China, compared to 1.01 billion Facebook users in the whole world.

Here is the landscape of Chinese social media platforms:

 Chinese social media landscape, social media in China, Tencent, QQ, Sina Weibo

Retrieved from Cic.

The list below shows some of the most powerful social media platforms in China.

Tencent QQ

QQ belongs to Tencent, which is located in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.

By now tencent QQ has more than 700 million users, mainly targeted toward young generation who was born after 1980, according to Fortune Money‘s report. The main function of QQ is instant message communication. However, based on QQ platform, Tencent has integrated other services to its platform too, such as Qzone (blog service), Tencent Weibo (microblog service), QQ online game, Tencent News, Weixin, and etc.

Sina Weibo

Sina Weibo, an analogy as Twitter, has 368 million users. Even though the scale of the demographic is not as big as Tencent’s, the users are more influential in terms of educational degrees, and geographic factor. Users of Weibo mainly located in first or secondary tier cities in China; they are well educated, savvy, and active to participate in public affairs. Users of Weibo usually publish and share breaking news, celebrity gossip, and public issues on the platform.


According to Fortune Money, Qzone has 597 million users. The Platform is popular among teenagers, small town residents, and rural area users. Users can write personal blogs, share blogs, share photos, post status, and play social games.


Renren belongs to Oak Pacific Ineractive. The platform right now has 140 million users, mainly consists of university students. It is initially created like an equivalence of Facebook, so the function of Renren is just like Facebook. Users can update their status; get news feeds from friends, tag and share photos, watch videos, and comment on other people’s status.


Weixin(WeChat) belongs to Tencent Inc. Right now, Weixin has over 100 million users. Most of them are city residents. This platform’s function is to chat with friends via mobile like an intercom. Users can download Weixin app to their smartphone from market. Users can find friends based on username and ID. If you don’t have any friends, Weixin will recommend some friends based on location.

The landscape of Chinese social media is far bigger than I presented above. Do you have experience using those Chinese social media? What other Chinese social media platform do you think is important?


10 thoughts on “Chinese social media landscape

  1. Cool picture! I didn’t know China has so many different kinds of social media! How has each of them developed? For example, do you think Sina is a monopoly in the field of blog? I am also very curious about why some people choose Renren, some choose Kaixin.

  2. Where does Douban fit into all of this? Is it something other than a social media platform?
    Nissy from Nerissa’s Life

    • Hi Nissy,

      I would consider Douban as an SNS website, which fit into the Chinese social media landscape.

      The purpose of is to help young people living in urban area to discover things in their lives, like useful books, websites, tips for daily details, music genre, and organizing city-wide events. I was invited to attend several minority art films from my hometown’s activity page.

      Douban’s service is comprehensive, including blogs, friends, community, online music radio, and so on. You can discover lots of interesting things on this social network. You can even discover jobs in some professional groups.

      Some critics say Douban is a social network for the subculture of “literary and artistic youth.”

  3. Thanks so much for replying so quickly. I really appreciate that. I’ve had a tough time finding information about Chinese social media, so I was thrilled to find your blog. It contains far more useful information than anything else I have come across.

    The reason I’m interested is that I have a blog, Nerissa’s Life, that for a period of two months enjoyed a great deal of traffic from China. It went from pretty much zero hits a day to two and three hundred hits daily. Then, about a week ago, nothing. Now, maybe thirty hits daily for the last couple of days.

    I was thinking it might have to do with access… or lack thereof. I’m blogging from Canada.

    I did read that Douban didn’t require users to ‘register’ and I suppose that’s why I thought it might be the answer to my problems. Is it possible to partipate with Douban from outside China? All I really want to do if provide a link to my blog so that people enjoying it can return, easily.

    Nissy from Nerissa’s Life

    • Hi Nissy,

      I searched for your blog. It seems you are using blogger’s service. Are you hosting your blog using google’s server? And is your traffic mainly comes from mainland China? If so, I’m so sorry to tell you that the mainland China has banned basically all the google services… wordpress as well. I can’t get any traffic from China myself.

      It is perfectly possible to participate with any Chinese social networks from other corners of the world. Ironically, it’s not the same case vice versa.

      To answer your question about registration on Douban, you don’t have to register to read the content on it. It’s an open network. However if you want to participate in the group discussion and city-wide activities, you’d have to register for an account.

      Here is Douban’s url:

      • Wow! You’re quick.

        I’m not sure if I understand some of what you said. Please keep in mind that I know NOTHING about computers and confuse easily.

        Yes, my blog is through Blogger so I assume I’m using the Google server. or

        When I look at the stats, it just says China. It doesn’t differentiate between mainland or otherwise. But the highlighted part on the map would seem to indicate that it’s the mainland. Ironically, within the last hour, twenty hits from China have appeared. Great but nothing compared to the traffic I was receiving for those two months.

        I’m going to try to register for a Douban account. I don’t speak Chinese so I might not be capable of doing so. I have a hard enough time following this stuff in English!

        May I ask… are you blogging from China? A part other than Mainland China? Perhaps I don’t understand what is Mainland China and what is not.

        I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer my questions.


      • I just wanted to add. My stats are now showing thirty-three hits within the hour and they appear to all be coming from a mystey browser. It’s just a semi-colon. Nothig more. Does that sound familiar to you?

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