Social networking is big in China, but do you know just how big it is? While the US and UK see social networking revolving mainly around Facebook and Twitter, which have 1.1bn and 140m users respectively, China has several competing social media sites.
Here is a look at the top five social networks in China.
158.2m users (May 2013)
Launched January 2011
- aka WeChat, which literally means 'micro message'.
- A mobile text and voice messaging communication service.
- WeChat is exclusive to internet-enabled mobile devices, not available on desktops.
- A person's posts are only visible to 'accepted' friends and information is typically only intended for a defined circle of friends and family.
85.87m users (May 2013)
Launched August 2009
- Described as the Twitter of China, but has more than twice as many users as its American counterpart.
- Like Twitter, Weibo has a 140-character limit and other users can be mentioned using the @UserName format with repost functions similar to Twitter's retweet function.
- Sina Weibo is used by more than 30% of the Chinese internet population.
- Weibo is a big celebrity hub and huge driver for consumer activity.
62m users (end 2012)
Launched March 2005
- Known as the main review-based social network in China, it allows users to record information and create content related to film, book, music, culture, lifestyle and recent events in Chinese cities.
- Owns mobile apps, including an internet radio station and a book reader app.
- Douban brand station offers service and applications for brands to set up their own communication page. Nearly 140 international and Chinese brands have set up their Douban brand station to enhance their reputation and brand image.
- Founder YangBo worked on the website code for Douban in Starbucks in Beijing, giving Douban its name. Douban literally means 'bean seed' and is the name of the street where the Starbucks is located.
60.97m users (May 2013)
- Users can write blogs, keep diaries, send photos and listen to music.
- Most QZone services are not free. Users must buy the Canary Diamond to be able to access every service without paying extra.
- Resonance China recently reported that 139,000 photos were uploaded to QZone every minute.
- QZone was credited with helping victims of the April 2013 Ya'an earthquake as it assisted in the search for victims by filing missing person reports. More than 33m messages were sent concerning the Ya'an earthquake.
798.2m users (March 2013)
Founded November 1998
- Equivalent of a social media hub and works across multiple platforms, making it the biggest online community in China in terms of registered users.
- Services offered include online social games, music, shopping, microblogging and group and voice chat.
- Built on the QQ Instant messaging service, which allows users to access Tencent's different services.
- In 2002, Tencent began charging a membership fee, but this decision was overturned in 2003 due to pressure from competition. It currently offers a premium membership scheme with 'diamond' level membership levels for access to different features.