As we all know, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have dominated the social media market for a long time in North America. Nowadays, people use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Blogger as major communication tools to connect with each other. In addition, some companies use these social media as an internal communication tool as well. They require their employees to use Facebook inbox messaging instead of traditional emails. However, due to the political concerns and issues in China, these platforms are not allowed to operate. And here comes the question – if marketers want to expand its company to China, instead of sending emails and making phone calls, which social media platform should they use to communicate with the partners in China?
Here are 3 social media platforms that are commonly use in China.
1) QQ (700 million monthly users)
Description: QQ is an online communication media that is very similar to ICQ and MSN. It operates on both computers and smartphones. QQ was founded in November 1998 by Tencent.inc. (About QQ). For now, QQ now has approximately 700 million monthly active users in China, and it has been the largest and most used internet service portal in China for the past decade (Fong, 2012).
Functions: person and group chat, and files sharing.
Official Web site: www.qq.com
2) Qzone (500 million users)
Description: Qzone is a social networking website that is similar to MySpace. It currently has 500 million monthly active users. Qzone was founded and created by Tencent in 2005. Qzone allows its users to write blogs, share photos, and post videos.
Functions: Blogs writing, sharing of photos, music, and videos.
Official Web site: www.qzone.qq.com/
3) SINA Weibo (500 million users)
Description: “Weibo” stands for “Microblog” in Chinese. SINA Weibo is a social media platform in China that is very similar to Twitter (Fong, 2012). It launched on 14 August 2009. SINA Weibo allows its users to post and share information, but there is a word limit associated to each post. The reason it is so popular in China is because many of its users are famous actors, singers, and athletes. These celebrities directly attract more followers to register for Weibo.
Functions: Microblog, photo share
Official Web site: www.weibo.com/
4) Renren (100 million users)
Description: Renren is a social networking platform that is almost identical to Facebook. The layout, design, and functions are so similar to Facebook that some people actually think it is a Chinese version of Facebook.
Functions: Blogs writing, photos, video and music sharing
Official Web site: www.renren.com/
In order to build a great relationship with international customers, marketers have to understand the cultural differences on the use of different social media platforms. Sometimes, language difference is not the major barrier in international communication. It is the use of different social media. As mentioned above, QQ, Qzone,SINA Weibo, and Renren are the most commonly use social media platforms in China for now. Marketers should become familiar with these social media platforms if they want to expand the business to China. If the consumers and marketers use the same social media communication platforms, it may help minimize communication breakdowns.
Thanks for reading
About QQ. (n.d.). Retrieved from QQ: http://www.qq.com
Fong, H. (2012, 10 25). 5 Things You Need To Know About Chinese Social Media. Retrieved 4 15, 2013, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/10/25/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-chinese-social-media/