China’s Social Media Landscape in 2017


The number of active social media users in China increased by 20% from January 2016 to January 2017. With over half of the population owning a social media account in China, Chinese market should be a core market for all global brands. The Chinese social media landscape is complex and highly competitive. But by understanding the trends and integrating them wisely into your strategy, the reward is well worth the efforts. 

China’s social media landscape is greatly different from the United States and Australia. In USA and Australia, there are about three mainstream social media platforms, however in China, social media is extremely fragmented and localized. This makes it more challenging for businesses and marketers. Brands must output quality content, attract KOLs, keep strong engagement with consumers, and do cross-platform promotion or advertising. But even with those strategies in place, there’s still work to do. For example, it is necessary to monitor and review social media performances with in order to complete their social media matrix.


WeChat, a popular social media platform launched by China’s tech giant Tencent, has accumulated much more users than any other Chinese social media platform in just five years. WeChat has been the largest social network in China, with over 700 million users per day. Chinese are spending an average of over 70 minutes each day using the app.

WeChat and WeChat Official Account (OA) features different functions, just like Facebook and Facebook Business Manager. WeChat Official Account (OA) is for marketing. It is a very powerful social media channel in terms of social economic commerce.

Now we can see almost 600 million Official Accounts in existence, meaning Tencent provides the market almost limitless influencers. Several third party influencer platforms have made it easier for brands to find the right influencers that suit the brand image and tone. WeChat also has Paid Advertising, and the conversion cost per follower is around 5-6 euro.

Sina Weibo

Sina Weibo, or Weibo, is a micro blog in China first released in 2009. As the most popular micro-blogging site in China, it is considered as a combination of Twitter and Facebook.

Sina Weibo has 340 million active users per month according to China Internet Watch. It is very popular among white-collar workers and the urban online users who prefer to surf the internet via mobile phones. Sina Weibo generates a huge market that companies cannot just ignore.

In 2017, Sina Weibo added new features like Story, which is exactly like Instagram Story and similar Facebook function.

The definition of “social media” now may refer to not only WeChat and Sina Weibo, but also a number of popular apps such as Jinri Toutiao (a news app), Taobao and RED (e-commerce apps with social media functions).

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