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Microblogs Overtake Social Networks in China

Social network usage dips; new regulations may dampen 2012 growth

February 15, 2012 | Social Media

Fittingly for the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Rabbit, microblog users in China multiplied in 2011. So fruitful were they, in fact, their numbers surpassed those of the country’s social network users.

The “29th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China,” released in January 2012 by state-supported researcher The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), reported there were 513.1 million internet users, 249.9 million microblog (aka “weibo”) users and 244.2 million social network site users in the country in December 2011.

Social Network and Microblogging Site Users in China, Dec 2010 & Dec 2011 (millions and % of internet users)

During the year, microblog users increased 296%, whereas social network user growth lagged slightly behind that of general internet users, resulting in a drop in total penetration.

Don’t expect record increases during 2012, however. Regulators are rolling out real-name registration requirements to tighten control over popular social media services, which will likely deter new (and multiple) signups.

For more information on social network user behavior and trends outside the US, watch for a forthcoming eMarketer report on worldwide social network usage.

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Check out today’s other articles, “US Consumers Hold Businesses Accountable for Online Privacy” and “Men More Willing to Share Personal Information on Social Media.”


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