Understanding Social Media in China in 2014

We Are Social Singapore
Simon Kemp Regional Managing Partner, We Are Social Singapore

Posted on April 14th 2014

Understanding Social Media in China in 2014

The social, digital and mobile ecosystem in China is unlike anywhere else on earth.

With a wide variety of home-grown platforms, technologies and behaviours, understanding the Chinese digital landscape can be both daunting and difficult.

Fortunately, We Are Social's new report will help to demystify things.

Continuing our series of studies into digital trends and developments around the world, our new China report profiles a variety of critical data points, including the penetration rates of different technologies, the top-ranking social platforms, and a wealth of interesting facts and figures on Chinese netizens’ behaviour.

You’ll find full details in our SlideShare report embedded above (and available for free download by clicking here), but here are some of the report’s highlights:

Country Overview

Social, Digital, Mobile in China 2014

China’s population exceeds 1.36 billion people, with urban areas accounting for more than half of the country’s residents. 51% of the country’s population is male.

Internet

China’s 618 million Internet users represent 45% of the country’s population, and account for almost a quarter of the world’s internet users – for reference, here are the latest global stats:

Social Digital Mobile Worldwide

(You can find more global stats here)

The majority of China’s internet users live in urban areas, with fewer than 1 in 3 living in rural parts of the country.

Beijing (75%), Shanghai (71%) and Guangdong (66%) have the highest Internet penetration of the country’s administrative regions:

Chinese internet penetration by region

Instant messaging (IM) is the most popular online activity in China, with CNNICquoting in excess of 530 million active users across platforms.

However, Tencent’s QQ, China’s most widely used IM platform, boasts more than 800 million active accounts, suggesting many Chinese IM users may manage multiple accounts.

Social Media

Although QZone claims to have the highest number of active social networking users at625 million, Weixin (WeChat) and Sina Weibo are the current ‘darlings’ of Chinese social media, with 355 million and 129 million monthly active users respectively:

Top social networks in China (active users)

Brands continue to be highly active on Sina Weibo, contributing to a reported 153% year-on-year growth of Sina Weibo’s advertising revenue in Q4 2013.

In terms of the users themselves, and reflecting a behaviour pattern we see on other social platforms across Asia, China’s micro-bloggers can’t seem to resist checking Weibo immediately after food:

When do people use Weibo

Weixin (WeChat) users are actively using the platform’s various chat features like text and voice voice messaging , as well as its social networking features like ‘Moments’:

Top activities on WeChat

 

It’s worth pointing out that WeChat is now the world’s second biggest active chat app service, and is still growing at a staggering rate:

We Are Social - Chat Apps User Numbers April 2014

Mobile

Roughly half of China’s population now owns a mobile phone, with each user maintaining an average of nearly 2 active SIM subscriptions.

The ubiquity of mobile devices makes them China’s internet tools of choice, with 81% of the country’s netizens accessing the Internet via mobile handsets:

How people connect to the net in China

In line with this, mobile shopping and mobile payment services experienced significant growth during 2013:

Top mobile internet activities in China

eCommerce

Online shopping as a whole is hugely important to China’s economy, contributing almost US$300 million in 2013 alone.

Group buying is particularly popular, and was the fastest growing online activity in China, with a robust growth rate of 69% in 2013.

Fastest growing online activities in China

If you need more numbers, be sure to check our full 95-page report on SlideShare for loads more useful and interesting stats.

We Are Social Singapore

Simon Kemp

Regional Managing Partner, We Are Social Singapore

Simon Kemp is Regional Managing Partner for We Are Social in Asia, based in Singapore. We Are Social is a conversation agency with offices in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Sydney & São Paulo. We help brands to listen, understand and engage in conversations in social media. If you’d like to chat, please email us at sayhello [at] wearesocial [dot] sg, or say hello on twitter: http://twitter.com/wearesocialsg

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Comments

WeChat has gained a significant advantage by creating an entirely mobile-based social network. Instead of relying on email addresses for account creation, It uses phone numbers, making the platform more conducive to mobile devices.

 

Your guess about "many Chinese IM users may manage multiple accounts" is correct. As a heavy QQ user, I have three QQ accounts, but I use only one of them most of the time. Truth is I seldom use the other two accounts. I even cannot remember why I would like to set up another two accounts back to years ago. I have two Weibo accounts as well, as you know, only one of them are daily active. To my knowldge, many of my friends are in the same situation.