As the world’s most populous country, China offered social media many users. In fact, China has around 591 million internet users which is more than double the number of users from the US. In addition, China has the world’s most active environment for social media, as more than 300 million people use social media sites. Also, Chinese people spend more than 40 percent of their time online, making them more active than those of any other country. What’s more, in 80 percent of the cases, they have multiple accounts. Another interesting aspect of the Chinese user of social media, is that they are more likely to buy something recommended by another social media user. As you can now imagine, social media in China is flourishing.
However, the government exerts impressive control over social networks. They have blocked global networks such as Facebook or Twitter and censored home-grown networks such as RenRen or Sina Weibo. Moreover, the government insists on a real name policy and also allows censors to delete posts if and as they see fit. There’s also a law that states that if a post is inaccurate and has more than 500 shares, the person who posted it in the first place can be sent to prison.
Social media in China?
There are several social networks, that resemble those we all know: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Youtube.
Social media in China has three networks that resemble Facebook and they are: RenRen, Pengyou and Kaixin 101. They have millions of users, though they are starting to lose ground as they are not mobile friendly and the Chinese use their mobiles mostly.
There are two networks in China that resemble Twitter: Sina Weibo ( the most popular) and Tencent Weibo. Users on Sina Weibo used to be quite outspoken, until censorship took over the site, which cause a loss in users.
The Chinese counterpart for Youtube is YouKu, which is the most popular and has the most visitors.
All in all social media flourishes in China due to the vast number of users and the time they spend online. However, the censorship and the control exerted by the Chinese government make free speech and privacy unattainable. How would you feel if you were censored on social media?
References: socialmediatoday.com, mckinsey.com
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