China’s social media landscape – infographic

Feb 6, 2014 | Asian marketing, Our Insights

By Steven Millward

For every leading social site or app in Silicon Valley and the West, China has a few – sometimes a dozen – comparable web services. It’s a sign of a strong local tech ecosystem married to a preference for China-made services – or, in several cases, they’re replacements for things that have been blocked by the Great Firewall. Either way, China’s social media landscape is a hard one to navigate. That’s why social business intelligence company CIC makes a helpful infographic each year showing the comparable Chinese apps to popular services like Instagram, Fancy, Match, Yelp, and WhatsApp.

The newest one is below.

There’s a clear shift towards mobile this year – and not just in CIC’s use of app icons rather than company logos in the infographic (for reference, here’s last year’s). Here are some things to note as you look at the graphic:

  • WhatsApp is used very little in China. The main messaging app is WeChat, with a small but growing rivalry from Alibaba’s Laiwang. The top dating/flirting type of chat app is Momo.
  • YouTube is blocked in China – and services like Hulu are not available – but China’s web users have a huge array of video sites to choose from, such as Youku, PPTV, Sohu Video, and iQiyi (all shown on the graphic). They have licensed movies and TV shows. The newest series of House of Cards is currently exclusive to Sohu Video, where it’s a big hit.
  • Note that even where the Great Firewall doesn’t interfere, rival Chinese apps still prove more popular. That’s the case with WhatsApp, Instagram, and Vine – none of which are blocked in China.
  • LinkedIn is one of the very few western social sites to have an impact in China. It has grown well even without a Chinese-language site. But this week LinkedIn rolled out a beta China site, showing that it’s serious about China.

Here’s the full circle:

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