Importance of Chinese Social Media

As one of the Chairman Mao’s widely quoted sentence, “Many hands make light work”. And this is certainty the case when it comes to social media in China.

China has the world’s biggest Internet user base of 513 million people, more than double of the 245 million users in the United States. However, this is done with no: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. Understanding the Chinese consumer’s decision is vital for a company as they are the world’s most active environment for social media.

For example,Wechat, a mobile voice and text application has over 100 million users, or consider Youku, which is the second largest video site in the world after YouTube. Taking a closer look at the data shows us the social media users’ behaviors in China, an example would be people in the Tier-1 city area, “People use social media as often as they breath” according to Lotus Ruan writer for Techinasia. According to Cindy Chiu, writer of, Understanding Social Media in China, “China’s social-media users not only are more active than those of any other country but also, in more than 80 percent of all cases, have multiple social-media accounts, primarily with local players”. It’s important to be able to stand out and craft a winning strategy when it comes to social media in China if you want your business to survive. That is, if for goal is only to survive, but who wants to survive when you can be successful.

To be successful you must make your content authentic and user oriented. What does that mean? A story. Cross-culturally people love stories, there is no more powerful way to convey a message than through the medium of a strong narrative. An example of this would be Estee Lauder’s Clinique who launched a drama series, Sufei’s Diary with a 40 episode broadcasted daily. While skin care was part of the story and the products were prominently featured, it was not an advertisement and was viewed more than 21 million times. Clinique’s online brand’s awareness grew 27 percent higher than their competitors. Another key principle for success would be maintaining your brand consistently cross-culturally. An example of this would be Starbucks who adopted various different products to meet the demands of their demographic, however, maintained their message of quality, social responsibility, and community building worldwide. Lastly, it’s important to be flexible and responded to the market. An example, of this would be Dove, they entered into China with a western mindset of promoting beauty in their social-media with real women rather than only models. This approach quickly failed as many of the Chinese consumers viewed the real woman as overweight and unattractive. Dove reconsidered their social-media campaign and partnered with a Chinese adaptation of a US television show and promoted their products through that narrative, which became very successful.

These are three examples, of hundreds of cases of different companies entering into the Chinese market, and failing, because they didn’t understand how to adopt through social-media and build a foundation of Chinese consumers.

Thomas Jordon Raybell