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eMarketer Bumps Up Estimates for Social Media Usage in China

More than 80% of internet users will use a social network regularly

June 27, 2017 | Social Media

More than eight in 10 internet users in China, or 626 million people, will access social networks regularly in 2017, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.

eMarketer has raised its previous estimates for social network user growth in China by more than 4%, mainly because of older users increasingly using homegrown messaging platform WeChat to perform a myriad of tasks that reach far beyond messaging. For example, 62.0% of internet users ages 55 to 64 in the country will be social network users this year—equating to 28.8 million individuals.

Mobile Phone Social Network Users and Penetration in China, 2016-2021 (millions, % change and % of social network users)

WeChat’s popularity, coupled with rising smartphone adoption, has also helped to drive the number of mobile phone social network users in China. In 2017, just over 483 million people—or 35.0% of the country’s population—will access social media via that device.

Since its launch in 2011, WeChat has evolved into a must-have app in China, via which users can perform numerous activities like shopping, having food delivered, booking a doctor’s appointment and paying bills.

“WeChat’s further expansion into the areas of payments, shopping and general utility have proven fruitful for China’s social networking and messaging giant,” said Monica Peart, eMarketer’s senior forecasting director. “And it will only increase the attraction for new mobile users and older users, as WeChat increasingly has something for everyone.”

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