Let’s be honest, social media is essential to keeping updated, connected, and engaged. With millions of “netizens”, China’s social media landscape is huge! Therefore, it should be of no surprise that four of the world’s top 12 social media bases are from China. Since China’s social networking landscape is so versatile, there exists English social media sites established by local companies in addition to the social media sites in Chinese that locals habitually use.
For the Locals
Sina Weibo, a.k.a the Twitter of China, holds twice the number of registered users than that of Twitter. Weibo has a 140 Chinese character limit (equivalent to 70-80 English words) and is used by more than 40% of the Chinese population plus even a few famous overseas celebrities such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Its rival, Tencent Weibo, is a microblog similar to Sina Weibo with the addition “retweets”, games, music, and voice chats. The benefit of Tencent Weibo is that with built in QQ (an extremely popular instant messaging service), users can access Tencent's other social media branches.
Renren is the “Facebook of China.” This network functions exactly the same as Facebook, except this network primarily serves to help college students stay up-to-date and keep in touch with events or the people around them.
Most of these social networking sites now have established a mobile app after their release on the internet but one social media platform exclusive to internet-enabled mobile devices (and only until recently created web service) is WeChat. An excellent mobile voice and text app similar to Whatsapp, WeChat is great for video calling, texting, and sharing pictures.
Youku, a.k.a. the “Chinese YouTube” is the second largest video sharing site in the world behind YouTube with 1,500 license holders and almost 300 million viewers daily. In 2012, the company bought the second largest video sharing site in China, Tudou, and the company now joins to be Youku Tudou Inc.
Other social media platforms for leisure are available too. Diandian, often referred to as the “Perfect Chinese Tumblr Clone”, is perfect for adults, young and old, who enjoy a dose of interesting pictures every now and then. Another interesting site for internet communities discussing specific topics is Douban. Functioning much like MySpace, Douban is perfect for commentators and individuals looking for reviews on books, movies, restaurants, etc. However, censorship is active on this site, so search results on sensitive issues that offend China, especially the government, may well be blocked.