Social Media in China

With the advances in technology, people are now able to access a wealth of information with the click of the button. As of 2015, 3.17 billion people use the Internet worldwide.  With the Internet being so widely used, businesses can now share information and market themselves to millions of people at one time using social media. The use of social media can greatly benefit any business and make a large contribution to its growth. The benefits of social media include: an easy way to learn about and target your audience, an easy way to expand your audience by using ads on sites, ways to receive instant feedback to ensure good customer service, an easy way to gain information on the competition, it can be used to increase website traffic and share content, and you can even use sites like YouTube to have everyday people endorsing your products. The benefits of social media to businesses around the world are endless.  As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, the use of social media for a business to expand into China is essential.

        In 2014, the biggest social media network in the world was Facebook. Ozone, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, twitter, and then tumblr followed it. The number one social media site in the world, Facebook, is blocked in China. In fact, the majority of the social media networks on this list are blocked. Facebook and other foreign social media sites are banned because the government cannot control Internet content that it doesn’t deem in the state’s interest. Chinese laws and regulations must be followed, and since these sites are mostly user generated, they cannot control it; however, they can control content for servers located in China. Because the serves are in China, they can delete any inappropriate content. Facebook has been banned in China since 2009, because it was used to perpetuate the Xinjiang riots. This is why most foreign social media sites are banned in China. Social media is still important in China, even if the worldwide leaders are banned.

        The restriction of most foreign websites has resulted in many Chinese-based social media sites. The government can regulate these sites. A study by Boston Consulting Group found that the Chinese Internet users use the internet just as much as people in the United States. A 2008 MTV music matters survey actually found that young people in China have more friends online than offline.  Social media is huge in China, and with the current and future generations, this trend will continue to grow. This is a golden opportunity for businesses.  Since Chinese people use the Internet and social media so heavily, it is important for companies to market on Chinese social media sites.  For example, even though China doesn’t have twitter, they have Sina Weibo. Tudou and Youku are equivalent to YouTube.  On these sites, instead of mostly user-made content, there are more professional videos. It’s almost like watching television. There are also multiple sites similar to our Facebook, like Qzone and RenRen. These sites would be great for businesses to advertise. There is a large social media presence in China.

        Even though most foreign social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are blocked in China, there are still many Chinese-based social media platforms that businesses can use for advertisements. It is imperative that companies trying to enter the Chinese market advertise on these sites, as it can easily reach millions of people in China. Social media is as important to businesses in China as it is in the rest of the world. It is a great way to ensure exposure and growth in one’s company.

Jayda Jones

MBA Candidate 2016