10 Most Popular Social Media Sites in China (2019 Updated)

Dragon Social Limited
  • Date Published
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What platform is best for marketing your business in China? Our article features statistics, descriptions and use cases of the top social media in China.

The key thing every company must know in order to do business in China is that Western social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and so on are banned in China. In fact, Weibo, WeChat, Youku and more are the main social media channels in China.

Chinese people spend a good portion of their daily lives on social media sites. Therefore, understanding which social media platforms are growing in China will help your businesses reach out to your target audience and deliver the right products or services. Let’s check out this list of top 10 social media sites in 2019 below.

Table of Contents

  1. WeChat: All-in-on Social Media in China
  2. Sina Weibo: Twitter of China
  3. Tencent QQ: Popular Instant Messaging App
  4. Toudou Youku: Youtube of China
  5. Baidu Tieba: A Search Engine Forum
  6. Douban: Lifestyle Discussion Platform
  7. Zhihu: The Quora of China
  8. Meituan – Dianping: The Chinese Versions of Yelp
  9. Momo: Tinder of China
  10. Meitu: From the Creators of Meipai

2018 Updates

  1. Toutiao: The Hottest News & Information & Entertainment Platform
  2. DouYin: Short-Video Platform Trended at the Start of 2018


2019 Updates

  1. Kuaishou: The Short-video Platform For Life in China Outside Tier 1 Cities
  2. Tencent Video: The King of Online Video

Industry-Specific Social Media Platforms

  1. Xueqiu: Equity & Finance Social Media Network
  2. Keep: Health and Fitness Community
  3. Mafengwo: Social Media for Travelling
  4. Xiaohongshu: Cross Boarder E-commerce for Females
  5. Douyu: The Twitch of China
  6. Maimai: The Up & Coming Linkedin of China

If you are interested in any China marketing services, you can talk to our social media experts directly!

1. WeChat: All-In-One Social Media in China

WeChat logo

User Statistics:

  • Monthly Active Users: 1.08 Billion (Q3 2018)
  • Average Daily Active Users: 619.6 million (Sep 2018)
  • DAU of WeChat Mini-Programs: 200 million (Nov 2018)
  • WeChat Penetration Rate: 85.5% (Oct 2018)

What Is WeChat?

WeChat is an all-in-one messaging app developed by Tencent, which also provides games, online shopping, and financial services. Users can get almost everything they need from their smartphone, and never have to leave the app. Therefore, it’s risen to become the most popular social media platform in China.

WeChat is far more than any of the Western messaging app because it is a mix of Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, and Skype. It also contains ten million third-party apps.

There are different types of accounts on WeChat. Personal accounts are used by individuals, while businesses can create official accounts to stay in contact with their customers and post promotional information.

Why Is WeChat so Important to Businesses?

Today, WeChat is the largest social network in China, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Chinese users spend an average of over 70 minutes a day within the app.

The Chinese use WeChat app for restaurant bookings, booking flights, making investments, shopping, paying bills, hailing taxis, transferring money, posting Moments on their walls, etc.

Not only that, WeChat allows companies and celebrities to create official accounts to generate content for promotional purposes. Businesses can even implement CRM functionality to their WeChat official accounts! Read more about this below.

Moreover, WeChat allows one-to-one personalized interaction between brands and the users.

Tencent used to have restrictions on advertising, but they now allow brands to advertise on WeChat with banner ads, KOL advertisements, and Moments ads.

A Moments ad allows advertisers to advertise within the Moments section, as compared to Facebook’s news feed. Moments ad offers brands an easier and more affordable way to advertise on its app.

A stack of cubes covered with QR codes

In addition, QR codes might be dying in the Western world, but they are still widely used in China. Mobile users often scan for promotion, passwords or to follow a brand. To gain more followers, QR codes are essential and provide a link from the online world to the physical world.

2. Sina Weibo: Twitter of China

The Sina Weibo, or Weibo logo - the Twitter of China

User Statistics:

  • Monthly Active Users (MAU): 446 Million (Dec 2018)
  • Average Daily Active Users (DAU): 116.7 million (Sep 2018)
  • Average Visit Duration: 8 minutes 48 seconds (Dec 2018)
  • Penetration Rate: 34.3% (Oct 2018)

What Is Weibo?

Sina Weibo, or Weibo, is a micro-blogging platform in China released in 2009. It is the most popular micro-blogging site in China and can be considered as a combination of Twitter and Facebook.

With Weibo, users can upload videos, images, and gifs. Also, they can follow an individual and read their posts, then like and share them, without being followed back.

Why Is Weibo Important for Your Business?

As of Q4 2018, Weibo had 446 million monthly active users, growing by nearly 100 million users in 2018 alone. It is specifically popular among young white-collar workers and the urban online population with mobile phones. Weibo’s users make up a huge market that companies cannot just ignore.

Chinese people come to Weibo for information, sharing and to engage with other users.

Because Weibo is a blogging site, it contains a large source of informational and trending content. Companies, organizations, and celebrities in China have Weibo accounts to interact with their customers, fans, and followers.

Other than that, companies can create and manage a page for users to interact and debate on any subjects to increase the level of communication with their customers.

It also allows brands to generate a marketing strategy and even directly sell their products through the page.

3. Tencent QQ: An Instant Messaging App

The Tencent QQ logo - an instant messaging app

User Statistics:

  • Monthly Active Users (MAU): 803.2 million (Aug 2018)
  • Average Daily Active Users (DAU): 267.7 million (Sep 2018)
  • Penetration Rate: 69.3% (Oct 2018)

What Is QQ?

QQ is another instant messaging app developed by Tencent. Just like WeChat, it offers users multiple services like games, music, shopping, micro-blogging, movies, group chat, and voice chat.

QQ has a desktop version that is incredibly popular with white collar workers. Plus, QQ doesn’t require a phone number to register like WeChat. Users each have a unique numerical ID for their accounts.

While QQ is still often used for corporate communication and among white-collar workers the user base is younger than on other platforms.

Why Is QQ Important for Your Business?

According to FoxBusiness.com, QQ has more than 869 million users, another giant market for advertisers.

With QQ, you can publish Ads and Links to friends and discussion groups. Moreover, you can open an organization account, which is known as QZone.

Furthermore, Tencent offers paid marketing programs. With these programs, you can pay Tencent, and have them create your content, then publish it in QZone games, pop-up windows, and so on.

4. Youku Tudou: YouTube of China

The Youku Tudou logo - the YouTube of China

User Statistics:

  • Registered Users: 580 Million (Oct 2018)
  • Average Daily Active Users (DAU): 39.6 Million (Sep 2018)
  • Average Visit Duration: 4 minutes 7 seconds (Dec 2018)

What Is Youku Tudou?

Youku was the top video sharing app in China, in essence, a Chinese video sharing platform equivalent to Youtube. However, in the last year or so Youku has started to fall behind its rivals. We’ll leave it in the top 10 for now, as it does still have brand recognition as one of the most popular video sharing platforms in China.

Youku contains more professional content than individual user-generated content. Users can even stream or download movies and TV shows directly on Youku.

Why Is Youku Important for Your Business?

Youku has 580 million active users, according to DMR Stats. It also claims to have over 800 million views on its videos per day! For that reason, it is an effective way for your business to reach its target audience.

Youku offers an online viewing analytics tool, which enables brands to identify their audience by providing users’ information such as demographics, location, browsing technology and language.

Youku offers many types of ads such as banner ads including static and animated, text links, buttons, in-stream advertisements, branded viral videos, and pause ads. 

As of 2019, Youku has lost its market position as the dominant force in online video. Tencent Video has taken the reigns. For more info click 

5. Baidu Tieba: A Search Engine Forum

A webpage from Baidu Tieba - the largest communication platform in China

User Statistics:

  • Monthly Active Users (MAU): 665 million (Feb 2017*)
  • Average Daily Active Users (DAU) 148 Million (Aug 2018)
  • Average visit duration: 6 minutes 52 seconds (Dec 2018)
  • Market Penetration Rate: 4.8% (Sep 2018)

*Updated – MAU unavailable as of January 2019

What Is Baidu Tieba?

Baidu Tieba is the largest communication platform in China provided by the search engine company, Baidu. Basically, Baidu Tieba is a keyword-based discussion forum where users can search for information on a through a search bar. This forum covers hosts discussion on nearly every topic imaginable. If you had to compare it to something in the West it would likely be most comparable to open forum platforms like Reddit.

Why Is Baidu Tieba Important for Your Business?

Baidu has 660 million monthly active users, according to DMR Stats.

Users, especially businesses, can also create their own content and target specific niche groups through the platform. Businesses can post on a range of topics and utilize the platform to engage with other users.

Using this platform correctly can help develop an organic presence in China without resorting to paid advertising. This platform can be very useful for businesses that have good brand awareness in China, yet little presence on Chinese social media platforms.

6. Douban: Lifestyle and social discussion platform

The Douban logo - a lifestyle and social discussion platform

Source: Douban

User Statistics:

  • Monthly Active Users (MAU): 300 million (2016*)
  • Average Visit Duration: 4 minutes 28 seconds (Dec 2018)

What Is Douban?

Douban is a social networking platform that focuses on expressing oneself and one’s lifestyle. Users often post on Douban to discuss books, movies, music, and events. The landscape on Douban is constantly shifting and trends emerge and die off relatively quickly on the platform.

Douban makes it easy for users to book tickets for movies and concerts, download e-books and even listen to their own radio station, douban.fm, through their interface.

Users can also connect with each other based on similar tastes and interests.

Demographically speaking, the platform is used mostly by citizens of Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. Douban has a relatively low user base compared to other platforms, primarily because it does not require users to sign-up and create an account to access content.

Why Is Douban Important for Your Business?

SimilarWeb shows that Douban has 153.49 million monthly total visits, another promising number for advertisers.

Douban offers very little in terms of advertising, as they only offer banner ads (with a relatively high CPM of 15-20 RMB). However, Douban also allows brands to create a “brand station,” a separate page, where they can post about their brand story, history, logo, etc.

Due to the nature of the platform, utilizing word of mouth marketing on the platform can be very effective. The primary reason users come to Douban is for reviews, ratings, and discussions. Brands can seize opportunities to change and improvethe opinions of their brands or products on the platform, but they must also be careful not to aggravate the community as this could have negative consequences.

Brands can create events that are able to get people with the same interests together as a discussion group so that you and the consumers can have authentic interaction both on your own brand pages and on discussion pages.

7. Zhihu: The Quora of China

Zhihu search page - the Quora of China

User Statistics:

  • Registered Users: 160 Million (Jun 2018)
  • Average Daily Active Users (DAU) 7.05 Million (Sep 2018)
  • Average Visit Duration: 4 minutes 36 seconds (Dec 2018)

What Is Zhihu?

Zhihu is a question and answer site just like the English equivalent, Quora. Zhihu raised 100 million USD in its series D, leading to it becoming one of China’s many “unicorns,” companies with over a 1 billion USD valuation.   Zhihu started in a similar fashion to Quora, but it has become much more in recent years. Zhihu users are highly engaged, with many posts accruing tens of thousands of upvotes/downvotes and hundreds of comments.

While posts on Quora can be quite lengthy, it is common for posts on Zhihu to be over 5k words and cover incredibly specific questions. Users often include charts, graphics, and other media to further demonstrate their point and improve the quality of their answers. Zhihu has also introduced several new features which Quora has yet to emulate, for example:

Zhihu New Features

A mobile phone displaying a Zhihu column

Popular Zhihu answerers can open their own “column” and write essays, without having to answer any specific question
Zhihu readers can voluntarily “tip” the authors of essays they like. This function utilizes the WeChat wallet and instantly transfers money into the author’s account. Most people tip 2 RMB (about 30 cents), but some tip more. This is entirely voluntary, yet people utilize it. It’s a way to reward authors for good content and to provide incentive writers to contribute better quality content.

Zhihu has a new feature called 值乎, which when romanized also reads as “Zhihu”, but is actually a different character. In this feature, Zhihuers respond to questions with a 1–2 minute sound recording answering the question, and people can purchase the recordings for a price set by the recorder.

Zhihu Live is the biggest new feature on Zhihu. Top Zhihuers are invited to prepare TED talk style lectures, with about 30 minutes of content and 30 minutes for Q&A. The lectures are live broadcast (sound only) and follow a set schedule. Listeners have to sign up ahead of time to participate. Cost for one lecture seems to range from 20 — 100 RMB (3 to 16 dollars).

Thanks to Matt Hartzell for noting these differences.

In terms of demographics, Zhihu users are highly educated, wealthier than average, and concentrated in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. With over 100 million monthly active users, Zhihu’s users base should seem very attractive to brands throughout the world.

Why Is Zhihu Important for Your Business?

One important fact to note about both Quora and Zhihu, is that they both have tremendous trust rankings on search engines. If you’re a Google user, I’m sure you’ve noticed how often Quora posts appear in your search results, and the same is true for Zhihu on Baidu in China. Creating a discussion on these platforms regarding your brand and providing useful information to users on these platforms can greatly improve your presence on search engines.

While advertising in the traditional sense might not be incredibly effective on either platform, providing users with useful content will almost certainly result in some increased brand awareness. Businesses can answer questions that relate to their industry and post links to their company website or contact form. However, businesses must be careful to not come off as too sales-oriented and self-promotional. Users accept the presence of links to websites and contact forms in exchange for useful content and contributions to discussions, but outright sales pitches will not fare well.

One way to ensure that your the content you create on this platform is through KOL promotion. While they might not consider themselves as KOLs in the traditional sense, top contributors on Zhihu have managed to gain massive followings on the platform. Collaborating with these top contributors can help brands to reach their target audience and impart a sense of trust to Zhihu users.

8. Meituan-Dianping: The Chinese Versions of Yelp

The Meituan-Dianping logo - The Chinese version of Yelp

Source: Dianping

User Statistics:

  • Registered Users: 382.3 Million (Nov 2018)
  • Number of Merchants: 5.5 Million (Jun 2018)
  • Average Visit Duration: 2 Minutes 15 Seconds (Dec 2018)

What Is Dianping?

Dianping, roughly translated as everyone’s comments, was first created to collect people’s feedback on restaurant services and to share reviews with consumers. It’s basically the Yelp of China. However, like everything else in China, it offers even more than its Western counterpart. Users can order food directly from within the app & purchase promotional offers at nearby restaurants for later use. The service has become so popular that they process over 20 million orders daily, according to Jane Zuo of Meituan-Dianping.

The platform is not only limited to restaurants as users can also post reviews on bars, beauty salons, hotels, gyms, and so on. When you search for a restaurant on Dianpang, for example, there are tons of photos that help to give you an idea of what to expect at the restaurant. These pictures will also often include useful information like restaurant menus, storefronts, and promotional offers.

Meituan was originally Dianping’s competitor but it has since merged with Dianping. While both are still operational they still provide the same services.

Why Is Dianping Important for Your Business?

According to DMR, Dianping has 60 million reviews and 12 billion monthly page views. It has obviously become the largest local review service in China, with a strong focus on restaurants. With such impressive numbers, it is a great place for brands to advertise on this site.

Dianping’s users are white-collar and urban people with money to spend. The site is still growing bigger due to economic development in China as disposable incomes have begun to increase and expectations for service quality have also increased.

Unlike other social media sites, Dianping’s target users are older people between the age of 20 and 35 in major and fast-growing cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Their revenue comes from advertising and promotional fees for businesses and group buying services.  Both services offer powerful location-based targeting which businesses can use to offer promotions to nearby users. You can read some examples of this here.

9. Momo: Tinder of China

A mobile phone displaying Momo - the Tinder of China

User Statistics:

  • Monthly Active Users (MAU): 108 Million (Aug 2018)
  • Average Daily Active Users (DAU): 16.8 Million (Sep 2018)
  • Market Penetration Rate: 5.5% (Sep 2018)

What Is Momo?

Momo is an instant messaging app and also the number one dating app in China. In fact, it is the third largest fully mobile app after WeChat and QQ with 81.1 million monthly active users, a stat from DMR. While it now faces competition from the more direct Tinder clone, Tantan, it remains the largest dating app in China, even going public on the NASDAQ in 2014!

The app allows users to connect with strangers based on interests and location.

Other than that, the company is trying to make the app more than just a dating site by launching a campaign to help homeless cats and dogs in China. They also offer mobile gaming and live-streaming, to improve the way users connect to each other on the app.

Why Is Momo Important for Your Business?

One of Momo’s biggest sources of revenue comes from advertising.

They also launch a new advertising platform for offline retailers.

Advertisers can target customers through location-based service. For instance, when users are searching for their potential dates, advertisers can place an ad of a local bar or club with a discount offer on their result sites so as to attract customers to pay a visit.

Momo offers relatively advanced targeting for advertising, as users purposely populate their accounts with their interests and other relevant information to make themselves more attractive to other users. This makes advertising on Momo very powerful for businesses.

10. Meitu: From the company behind Meipai (2019 Update)

The Meitu logo - a photo touch-up app popular in China

Source: Meipai

User Statistics:

  • Registered Users: 455 Million (Apr 2018)
  • Demographics: 81% Female (Apr 2018)

What Is Meitu?

Meitu is an app that has been incredibly popular in China for years. It was one of the first apps to bring photo touch-ups to the masses. Users on Meitu simply uploaded their pictures and were able to airbrush/edit their pictures to make them appear more beautiful. Almost all the selfies you see in China now undergo this process. It also allows users to upload these photos directly to other social media platforms.

However, in a recent announcement Meitu has announced that it is going to focus more on the social aspects of Meitu, which has been in beta since May, and plans to expand its offerings and become a full-fledged social media platform.

What Happened to Meipai?

Meipai was a pioneer in live video streaming, however, when other companies began to join the fray they saw their market share shrink drastically. The biggest competitor to Meipai was Douyin. With a similar user base and its skyrocketing popularity, Meipai was unable to keep up. It attempted to implement a variety of new strategies to boost revenues and save the platform, but ultimately its user base has continued to shrink.

With its user base dropping from 157 million MAU to 98 Million in early 2018. Implementing the changes also resulted in several temporary shutdowns of the platform. All of the inconsistency and negative news resulted in both creators and users leaving the platform. Unfortunately, it seems like Meipai won’t be making a comeback as the company focuses its attention on Meitu.

Photos of Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk after going through Meitu's photo editor

Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk after going through Meitu’s photo editor. Do you think they look better?

Why is Meitu Important for Your Business?

Meitu has 455 million monthly active users with 81% of them being female. Advertising on Meitu is great for brands that focus on female consumers and rely on visuals to promote their brands.

For businesses, Meitu does offer advertising options that brands can take advantage of. In terms of its social media features, it’s shaping up to be quite impressive as seen by this quote from Ejininsight. “Since it started a beta trial in May this year, core users have spent 25 minutes a day in the community, browsing an average of 75 images and opening the app more than eight times a day. The average daily active users rose by 29 percent when there were theme promotion events. These statistics show that Meitu users have a strong desire for social networking and stickiness to the platform.”

Fan Bing Bing, one of the biggest KOLs on the formerly super popular Meipai

Fan Bing Bing, one of the biggest KOLs on the formerly super popular Meipai

With the decline of Meipai and the successful beta of Meitu’s social features, this is one platform that those targeting females in China should certainly keep an eye on. With the launch of the new platform, businesses will be able to start on the platform with a level playing field, as brands will likely all have to start from square one.

This is one platform we’ll be closely monitoring to determine how powerful it can be for businesses.

2018 Update

Toutiao: The Hottest News & Information & Entertainment Platform

Toutiao's logo and slogan - the hottest news, information & entertainment platform

Toutiao’s Logo & Slogan

Toutiao is a news distribution app which focuses on providing all kinds of information using complex algorithms. The company has over 4,000 partners producing content daily. The AI will first analyze each user regarding their locations, click and browser history. Toutiao then recommends the best-fit articles and videos to users accordingly.

Toutiao adopts a different style of giving news to people. Additionally, they provide short-videos, funny jokes, and featured articles to keep users entertained. The platform ensures each user’s experience to be personal and distinct. As of September 2018, Toutiao had 108.2 million daily active users,  Toutiao already had 120 million daily active users, spending 76 minutes on the app daily (comparing to 66 minutes of WeChat!).

Over 85% of Toutiao users are young people from ages 18 to 30 years old. 37.8% of them are freelancers, self-employed or private company owners, concentrated in first or second-tier cities. Putting ads on Toutiao can have significant effects. If your business is similar to a news portal, you can have a stronger presence in China by setting up an official account (Toutiao Hao). You can gain followers through constant updates and interactions on Toutiao, similar to how many businesses post content on The Medium.

Get to know more about Toutiao here!

DouYin: Short-Video Platform Trended at the Start of 2018

Douyin has been making some huge waves in 2018, most noticeable is the fact that it is one of the first Chinese social media platforms to obtain popularity abroad. With its Western counterpart Tik Tok, Douyin has become a force to be reckoned with in the Chinese social media landscape. As of November 2018, the platform had 400 million monthly active users, 200 million daily active users and an average time spent on the app per user of 52 minutes per day!

Douyin allows users to create videos in response to challenges posted on the platform, the first one that went truly viral was “The Karma is a Bitch” challenge. The challenge was to transform from an ordinary image to a bad-ass or surprising one. Westerners regarded it as the “Chinese Transformation meme” on social media, bringing a brand-new trend globally. In fact, these amazing clips are mostly from China’s influential short-video platform: DouYin.

DouYin is a popular short-video entertaining platform launched in 2016.  DouYin allows users to watch and produce funny music videos through special effects and filters. These 15 seconds clips are easy to attract attention.

DouYin has over 12 million users and ranked the 4th in the 2018 Top 10 Apps in China. By the summer of 2018, the app had over 500 million users! DouYin is now considered to be one the trendiest platforms in China.  Businesses can use the platform to post advertisements and create content. This new content format has been giving brands troubles though, as short-video is not something most companies are familiar with. We expect brands to get better at creating short videos in 2019 (most likely with the help of some KOLS).

2019 Update

Kuaishou: The Short-video Platform For Life in China Outside Tier 1 Cities

Kuaishou logo: the short-video platform for life in China outside tier 1 cities

Kuaishou was founded in 2011 by Hua Xu in Beijing. Kuaishou is one of the many short video sharing and live-streaming apps to gain popularity in 2019.  Formerly a GIF-making app known as “GIF Kuaishou,” it transitions into video sharing website in late 2012. It received investment from a number of companies including Sequoia Capital, but its most recent funds came from Tencent in the form a 350 million RMB investment in March 2017.

As of November 2017, its registered users had already exceeded 700 million. Users on the platform create, view, and engage with short videos. As of its last reporting in December 2018 the platform had 150 million daily active users. In a study done by QuestMobile in February 2018, it was found that users spent an average of 63 minutes on the app. The videos are able to be played rapidly, keeping users engaged and constantly hungry for new content. Videos on the platform have a maximum length of 57 seconds, making them easy to watch on mobile and on the go.

As of December 2018, Kuaishou introduced a new feature, a game center, that allows users to play games within the same app, trying to pave their way into an all-in-one entertainment app like Wechat. The game, named ‘Tiao Tiao Qiu’ (跳跳球), was their first game being introduced, but they intend to release more in the future.

The platform is known for being used outside of China’s top tier cities, resulting in different types of content than that which can be found on other platforms. They recently landed themselves in hot water with the government after users began uploading videos promoting counterfeits and reform after being reported to have users uploading contents such as promoting counterfeits and glorifying the lives of pregnant teenagers.

A controversial screen shot from Kuaishou showing two pregnant teenagers in China

These posts stirred up quite the controversy when they were posted

This resulted in harsh statements from the government, with some even saying that their failure to curate their content and prevent this type of content from being posted to the platform “approaches a legal boundary.” Since then they’ve updated their algorithms to more closely monitor content.

Why is Kuaishou Important for Business?

The majority of users on Kuaishou are from tier-2 cities or below with a comparatively low educational level (high school or below).

Kuaishou allows companies to approach a different audience, apart from those in China’s major cities (where most companies focus their marketing efforts.) This can help companies to expand their business in China in a place that likely has less competition.

Hearing the word ‘tier-2 or below’ brings a conservative impression to mind for most people, but many predict that these cities are predicted to be the primary driver of growth in the Chinese market going forward. With new infrastructure projects on the horizon and a populace getting more and more educated in these areas presents a significant opportunity for businesses. As most of Kuaishou’s users live In these lower-tier cities, use of the platform can be an effective way to reach them.

Tencent Video: The King of Online Video

As you probably know, the online video market in China is highly competitive. In recent years it’s always come down to 3 major players, IQiYi, Tencent Video, and Youku. Formerly, Youku had dominated the online video market, but its grip has slipped in recent years. Tencent Video has now completely overtaken its competition.

Statistics show that Tencent Video is now leading the online video market by having over 500 million mobile monthly active users and 63 million subscribers as of April 2018.

As of October 2018, Tencent video achieved a record high market penetration rate of 48%, with IQiYi right behind it with 44.6%. Youku remained low in comparison with 30.8%. The difference in daily active users is even more striking, with Tencent Video leading the pack with 116 Million DAU, as compared to IQiYi’s 85.6 million and Youku’s 37.5 million. While IQiYi and Youku’s numbers are nothing to sneeze at Tencent Video has clearly taken the lead in this market. We’ll see how the market progresses as we continue into 2019.

A graph showing the top 3 video platforms in China in 2018 - Tencent, IQiYi & Youku

Data Source: China Internet Watch

Industry-Specific Social Media Platforms

I’ll just give a quick run-down of some more topic-specific social media in China that are more niche, but could be incredibly useful considering the nature of your business. Advertising on all of these platforms is available in some shape or form whether it be through KOL promotion, standard banner ads, or plain-old organic outreach!

1. Xueqiu (Snowball): Equity & Finance Social Media Network

A screen shot from Xueqiu equity & finance social media network

Xueqiu is a platformed designed for investors to discuss and learn more about a range of different financial assets. The platform reported that it had 12 million monthly active users in July 2018 when it received investment from Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services arm. Considering the niche in which it operates it’s incredibly impressive that it’s been able to achieve these numbers.

Investors can examine data across the US, Hong Kong, and Chinese stock markets, along with several bonds, funds, trusts, and Bitcoin. Users can get up to date alerts, news bulletins, and price changes all within the platform itself. They can also follow other investors, communicate with them, and discuss investing strategies in large forums.

However, the platform does not offer broker services as of yet, but it plans to in the future. This would allow users to buy and trade stocks directly in the platform further increasing its attractiveness to individual and professional investors.  Aside from equities and financial products, there is also a section devoted to real estate, where users discuss up and coming investment opportunities and trends in the real estate market. Many compare this platform to SeekingAlpha.

2. Keep: The Home of Health and Fitness Enthusiasts!

Keep homepage - a platform for health and fitness enthusiasts

Launched in February 2015, Keep is meant to act as a professional trainer. Its primary draw is that it offers a variety of training courses and videos that teach you how to work out anytime, anywhere. It also offers dedicated activity trackers where you can record your progress. The company behind Keep also sells hardware, including a smart treadmill to track and analyze your workouts. It even opened an offline gym in Beijing to further connect with users! It had over 100 million monthly active users in August 2017, but no updates on the user base have been released as of now (Jan 2019).

It’s also has a social, aspect, with which users can follow each other and share their progress. This can all be shared to other social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo. Technode states that “23% of Keep’s users live in China’s top 5 megacities — Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. 77% are under 35 years old.” Besides providing exercise videos, activity tracking, and tips, the app continues its reliance on social interaction by enabling users to share pictures and videos.

This is an ideal platform to market on for businesses involved in the health, wellness, and physical fitness sectors.

3. Mafengwo: The One-stop Site for Things to do During Your Travels!

Mafengwo homepage - a platform dedicated to travel advice

Mafengwo was launched in late 2010 and has since then acquired over 100 million active users. According to 2018 statistics, there are over 130 million registered users. The platform is available both as a webpage and an app. Users can go through the latest travel information, glance at Q&As and reviews, as well as book hotels, travel destinations and local tours.

Unlike Ctrip and the other OTAs, Mafengwo rose to popularity due to its social aspects, in that users can share information about their trips and post content for other users to discuss and up/downvote. Today Mafengwo hosts more than 1 million user-generated travel guides and has seen massive amounts of engagement on its content.

Chinese tourists travel in large tour groups organized by tour operators. However, in recent years a new type of Chinese tourist has begun to emerge, the free and independent tourist (FIT). In 2016, nearly 60% of outbound tourists booked trips independently. These tourists prefer to book on their own and decide their own itineraries. Mafengwo caters to this market as a source of information for these tourists.

Mafengwo has become the go-to platform for suggestions on travel and tourism, so those in the travel & tourism industry should certainly take note of its significance in influencing travelers decisions.

Advertising is available on the platform, but as with almost any platform in China, KOL promotion on Mafengwo can go a long way. Seasoned travel experts with large followings on Mafengwo are often willing to collaborate with brands to promote their businesses. This method can be incredibly effective for reaching the elusive FIT demographic in China. Unfortunately, Mafengwo got into some trouble with fake user generated content (UGC) in 2018. They claim that it makes up only 3% of content on the platform, however, we’ll have to monitor this going forward. 

4. Xiao Hong Shu (Little Red Book): Cross-Border E-Commerce for Females

Xiao Hong Shu (Little Red Book) logo - cross-border e-commerce platform for females

Xiao Hong Shu is an e-commerce platform that also has many features commonly seen on social media networks. Users can post reviews, join in on discussions, and post their own content. Content on the platform tends to focus on product photos and shopping experiences, including shopping tips, deals, and experiences from their trips abroad.

Users can browse through lists of the most popular brands for a category, and through products on brands’ exclusive pages. They can share also share pictures of products that they have purchased, on a board that bears a strong resemblance to Pinterest, where other users can like and comments.

Aside from its social aspects, Xiao Hong Shu is an advanced e-commerce platform. The home page features items that have received the most shares. This allows users to dictate which items are featured on the home page and to direct trends.

KOLs on this platform can directly influence sales through the content that they generate, making this a very attractive platform for foreign luxury brands, with most of the larger ones already taking advantage of this advertising method.

5. Douyu: The Twitch of China

The Douyu logo - the Twitch of China

Founded by Zhang Wenming in 2013 with headquarters in Wuhan, Douyu (斗鱼) is an online live-streaming platform designed for sharing and commentary on video games. It’s mainly for users to broadcast e-sports competitions, showcase strategies, and share content related to videos, similar to Twitch in the West. Although gaming is the main focus of the platform, videos with content ranging from sports, variety shows and entertainment can also be found on the platform. Douyu is partnered with Tencent, after Tencent became its largest shareholder in March 2016. As one of the largest game publishers in China, this partnership between Douyu and Tencent clearly makes sense.

According to SimilarWeb, Douyu’s total visits reached 95.6 million in December 2018 with an average visit duration of around 8 minutes. As of September 2018, the platform had 7.6 million daily active users on the platform. The majority of the traffic to their website is from China at a rate of around 91.4%.

They have a detailed classification on live gaming and they include a lot of popular games on the platform, such as League of Legends (LOL) (英雄联盟), PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) (绝地求生), Honour of Kings (王者荣耀) etc.

An example of a live stream on Douyu

Heres an example of a live stream on Douyu

The company also holds live e-sports competitions in the hopes of further developing the industry. E-sports is seen as an up and coming industry by analysts around the world, so we expect Douyu to continue to make waves in 2019.

If you are looking to promote a new game in China, I would say bringing it up on Douyu would be an essential move for promotion.

5. Maimai: The Up & Coming Linkedin of China

A screenshot from Maimai: the Linkedin of China

Maimai (脉脉), which somehow means ‘connection’ in Chinese, is a China-based career and social-networking platform, similar to Linkedin in the West. It was founded in 2013 by Fan Lin with its headquarters in Beijing. Maimai achieved unicorn status (a valuation of over 1 billion dollars) just this year and is planning to IPO in the United States in 2019.

On this platform, you can discuss and share different information about your career on their forum which makes it easier for you to get a nice job (avoids to be hired by some bad companies!) and at the same time building a larger network. The platform claimed to have a registered user base of 30 million in November 2017 & a monthly active user base of 10 million. While these numbers seem a bit on the small side compared to other platforms covered above, this is a platform catered specifically to professionals making it a bit more niche. Users of Maimai can easily find their potential investors on this platform as well.

3 smartphone screenshots displaying users on Maimai - the Linkedin of China

In my humble opinion, I would say that this platform would be a good start if you want to expand your business to China. By using this social media platform, you can find your potential Chinese employees as well as customers for your business. This can be especially useful for those who sell services. If this fits you,  what are you waiting for? Go and set up your account on Maimai now!

Conclusion: Top Social Media In China

A smartphone screen displaying Chinese social media apps

10 Chinese social media sites above are the hottest ones in 2018. There are tons of other social media platforms that might be more suitable to reach your target audience that I have not mentioned in this article, so be sure to do your research and find the platform that makes sense for you.

I hope this helped you to understand how each of these Chinese social media sites works, and to decide which ones would suit your business best for advertising.

If you want to build your presence in China, please contact our marketing consultants for information and tips!