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In China, Social Networks Drive Conversation

265 million social network users this year

Marketers planning to expand into Asia-Pacific cannot ignore China. Its GDP continues to climb at more than 10% year over year, and the number of internet users in the country is increasing every day.

“As penetration approaches saturation, users are adopting activities that mirror the West but remain distinctly Chinese,” said Mike Froggatt, eMarketer research analyst and author of the new report “China Social Media Marketing.” “They have innovated in categories as diverse as online entertainment, group buying and social media.”

They show a particular taste for social networks. eMarketer estimates that 265 million internet users in China will use social networks at least monthly this year, a 28% increase over 2010. By 2015 China will boast 488 million social network users. Growth will taper off as penetration increases.

“Although social networks in China will increase reach, sites often have very specific audiences,” said Froggatt. “Choosing how and where to target these audiences can determine whether social media campaigns are successful or flop.”

Social media users in China are avid followers of official product and brand websites, including blogs, microblogs and social networks. These sites increase interaction, transparency and relevance to internet users while also amplifying a brand’s message, for better or worse. Social media users surveyed by OgilvyOne Worldwide indicated that following or friending a brand was the second-most-popular activity on social networks, tied with sharing links.

“Many brands are already being discussed and scrutinized by social media users,” said Froggatt. “Participating in the conversation, if not directing it, can give marketers an edge on what consumers expect or want from their products.”


The full report, “China Social Media Marketing,” also answers these key questions:

  • What are the most popular social media sites?
  • How many people use social media in China?
  • What are the largest demographic groups using social media in China?
  • How do internet users in China interact with brands on social media?

To purchase the report, click here. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other article, “How Retailers Can Make Video Efforts More Effective.”

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