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Social Media in China

By Joab Meyer ⋅ Jan 28, 2015

It is well known that guanxi (personal relationships) are one of the three cultural keys that will enable significant connections with Chinese friends and colleagues – more details on all three keys in this June 2013 post. But what does this relationship building look like in China's social media savvy market today? This series of posts will outline not only why it is critical to use social media, but more critically how to use it to enhance your relationships with Chinese colleagues and friends.

Social media is impacting societies across the globe, but China's social technology landscape is unique and largely unknown to those outside China. Honestly, how many people outside of China have ever heard of any of the popular social technology brands listed in the image below?

Image Credit: Digital Strategy Consulting Post - November 28, 2012

Context: Social Technology in China is Growing and It’s Mobile

First, it is helpful to understand just how impactful social technology is in China today. According to this post from the CEO of the internet marketing company ByReputation.com there were 597 million active social networking users in China as of July 2013. In addition, social media usage is more common than in the U.S. as 91% of China's online population has an account on a social media site compared to only 67% in the U.S.

Second, much of this staggering growth has been fueled by smartphone penetration where according to this video produced by the PR company GroupM there were over 360 million mobile internet users in 2011. In fact TechinAsia notes that the number of Chinese accessing through a mobile device (388M) overtook PC netizens (380M) for the first time in China's history in June 2014. What is more, the GroupM report indicates that smartphone users typically check their phones every six minutes and 38% of smartphone users spend more than five hours a day on their phones.

Clearly, if you are going to connect with Chinese colleagues today, you need to actively jump into mobile social technology.

Up Next: A Introduction to a Recommended Tool - WeChat

The next post in this series will focus on one of the most popular social apps used in China - WeChat. The post will highlight the marketing and e-commerce uses of this app that make it a powerful business tool. If you are interested in testing out the tool immediately, I suggest you download the app here and take three minutes to review this video from the Wall Street Journal.

Main Image Credit: 即時通訊程式 by Mike Lau, on Flickr

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Joab Meyer

Joab Meyer

Joab Meyer has been studying Chinese language and culture for nearly 20 years and lived in Shanghai for seven years. He is passionate about the knowledge of Chinese culture being effectively applied in developing healthy communities and companies in the fast-changing China market. To that end, he has published China-related... View Full Bio