Latest Trend of Social Media in China
With Facebook’s falling stock struggling after falling to half of IPO price in August, social media in China, by contrast, is forging ahead. After years of development, the Chinese social media have now diversified into many categories, including BBS, SNS, Blog, Micro-blog, Labs, Q&A, Wiki, etc. In this post we discover how Weibo and Weixin are trying to find their own business model.
Sina Weibo, the most powerful micro-blog in China, is used by well over 30% of Internet users, with a similar market penetration that Twitter has established in the USA. As of February 2012, Sina Weibo has more than 300 million registered users with about 100 million messages posted each day. But more and more users have found that Sina Weibo is going too commercial with a deteriorated media quality under its fake (zombies) users strategy. Fake users are used to forward and post for Weibo marketing purpose. According to the statistics from HP’s researcher, up to 49% users forwarding the hot topics are fake users. Meanwhile, Sina has announced a profit above 10 million in its second-quarter earnings after the Olympic marketing. And the ad formats has spread from the website to the mobile App, such as key word, banner, icon and in-game advertising. The conflict from the point of view on media consumerism has shown.
With success in micro-blog, Tencent, a competitor to Sina, has developed a free mobile application called Weixin that combines the best features of Skype, iMessage, Instagram and even Google’s Circles. This mobile App for smartphones was recently renamed WeChat for its launch into global markets. As a next generation mobile game-changer, Weixin, a high-integrated app across platforms, has just moved its step into business. As Steven Millward mentioned in his article:
“The world’s biggest group messaging app, Tencent’s WeChat – or “Weixin” as it’s called in Chinese – is taking an interesting turn in China. It is now also a platform for social media marketing, allowing blogs, newspapers, TV shows, brands, and celebrities to reach out directly to the app’s 100+ million users.”
It is believed that Weixin will go on its move in commercial field, with message RSS involving brand marketing, celebrities and QR codes linking the reality and virtual. The problem that Weixin will face in the near future, which Sina Weibo is now facing, is whether it can provide a good balance between communication and business, leading a friendly user experience and a profitable business model at the same time.
*A Comparison in User Number
In the early stage of Internet, BBS was in the main situation, specialized on content and communication. From 2003 to 2005, blog came to a climax, focusing on ‘User Generated Content’. After 2006, with the development of SNS and micro-blog, social media in China began to focus on user sharing content. And since 2010, different types of social media came to a cross-border convergence with significant diversified trends and both Sina Weibo and Weixin will go on their exploring in this trend.