Chinese social media: The Essential Guide for Beginners 2018

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter we all know they are blocked in China. So how do you reach Chinese consumers? Well…if you don’t know the name of any Chinese social media apps, or which social media your audience is on, it’s going to be difficult.

But don’t worry, in this blog post, I will introduce you to some of the most used social media apps in China.

What is WeChat?

WeChat is one of the most famous Chinese social media. In China, everyone is using WeChat to communicate with their family and loved ones. You could see this as China, Facebook messenger.

Weixin and WeChat: MAU (Monthly Active Users) reached 1,057.7 million, representing year-on-year growth of 9.9%. Riding on the swift growth of Mini Programs and Weixin Pay use cases, DAU (Daily Active Users) grew at a faster pace than MAU (Monthly Active Users), reflecting greater user engagement and stickiness. User activities in Weixin Mini Games and Moments continued to increase, driving up time spent per user per day in those activities.

Source: Tencent report
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WeChat is originally a messaging app, But early on it had more functions than just messaging, something Chinese social media apps usually have, which we as westerners aren’t used to. These functions inside WeChat is called mini-programs, there are many mini-programs from many different publishers. The functions can be such as a subway map, apartment renting, or ordering food from McDonald’s.

On the picture below you can see the interface of WeChat.

  1. An overview of your most recent conversations.
  2. Your group and friend list
  3. Core functions in WeChat, QR scanner, people nearby, photo wall and mini-programs.
  4. Your profile settings, wallet, photo wall, and smileys.
The WeChat Interface

In the picture, the navigation menu is on the left side and there is no dreadful “hamburger” navigation menu.

WeChat mini-programs

WeChat also has accounts for companies. Users who are interested in the company can follow their account to see content, the company is producing. Below the content wall there is a navigation menu where users can find more information about the company.

What is Weibo?

Weibo in Chinese means Mini-blog. It’s one of the most used Social media apps in China. It launched 2009, and at that time it was just like twitter, but a lot has changed.

There are more features, and before you could only post a maximum of 140 characters per message, now you can post 2000 characters, and posts get trimmed, You can also add a maximum of 9 pictures to your post. The majority of the content posted in Weibo is gossip about celebrities.

By the end of 2017, Weibo reported 392 million monthly active users (MAU) and 172 million daily active users (DAU). Weibo’s MAU has increased by 216 million since 2014. Among the active users, 93% were accessing Weibo through mobile devices.

Source: Chozan
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There are both personal accounts and accounts representing a company. In the first picture below you can see the blog wall. Above the blog wall, you can choose which category, for example, fashion, funny or nearby blog posts

Nearby blog posts on WeChat

On the picture below, you can see a preview of a company’s Weibo Page. Here you can find information about where the company is located and how to contact the company. Company accounts just like personal accounts have a blog wall where they can post content.

Company page

What is Douyin?

In 2016 ByteDance Launched an app called Douyin known as Tik Tok in West. Douyin has just grown and grown every year. According to Sensortower, the first quarter of 2018 Douyin had 45 million downloads from App store, making it №1 worldwide most downloaded app in Apple Store, and 7th overall.

App downloads 2018 Q1 From Sensortower

In China, Duoyin’s DAU has crossed 150 million while its MAU has topped 300 million.

Source: Technode

How douyin app interface looks like
Qinghai Province, Chakalanhu (Chaka Salt Lake) by Yao on Douyin

Chinese social media and micro-influencers

In Chinese social media, micro-influencers are very important to your marketing strategy if you want to reach your targeted audience. Celebrities used to be a good marketing strategy, but the micro-influencers has taken over.

What is micro-influencer?

Micro-influencer is an influencer, but they have a smaller follower base (50, 000 or less). Micro-influencers is known for having higher engagement rates, while influencers with many followers can reach a larger audience, but their engagement rate is much lower.

Micro-influencers creates deeper connections with the consumers and helps your brand grow by recommending your products. consumers trust recommendations from friends and family members more than any other form of advertising. It’s proven that consumers also trusts micro-influencers more than they trust celebrities, which creates a word-to-mouth ripple effect thought out the social media platform.

According to a study from Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe that recommendations from relatives and friends are more important than any form of advertising.

Want to know more about marketing in China using micro-influencers?


Viral Access is an AI and data-driven social communication company — we help you tell your story through social media. We pair your brand with relevant micro and nano influencers that help you increase awareness, engagement and conversion. We have the systems and team in place to support large scale communications throughout Asia.

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