Mashable US & World
November 30, 2011 by Zoe Fox
China’s notorious Great Firewall — or as they call it, the Golden Shield — is known for blocking some high profile sites. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all victims. But that has not kept the world’s most populous country from getting into social networking. Some 500 million Chinese citizens are online and a quarter of the world’s social network users live under the firewall.
So how then, do the Chinese connect online? On their own series of social networks, mimicking several blocked foreign counterparts. Renren and Kaixin001 fill Facebook’s void. Sina Weibo is the microblog of choice in Twitter’s absence. Youku is a video hosting platform, which only loosely enforces copyright laws; think of it as a YouTube-meets-Hulu, because many popular TV shows and movies are posted freely. Jiepang is the most popular location-based mobile app, with Foursquare-style checkins.
This infographic, created by G+ (not to be confused with Google+), takes a look at China’s answer to social networking. Of the country’s half billion Internet users, half of them are on multiple social networks and 30% log into at least one network each day. Chinese citizens spend an average of 2.7 hours online per day — second to only the Japanese.
In addition to blocking social networks, the Chinese government blocked some one million articles each day of 2010, shut down 1.3 million websites and the country saw 41% fewer sites total than in 2009.
G+ suggests some reasons why the Chinese love social networking — long distance migration away from families for work, single child families leave children yearning for social interactions at home, the prevalence of affordable Internet and the widespread mistrust of the government-controlled media.
“The Internet is a lot more influential in China in comparison to the United States and other countries,” Jens Thraenhart, president of China-based marketing company Dragon Trail, is quoted saying in the infographic.
Backing up Thraenhart’s statement, a Synthesio survey says 95% of Chinese citizens say brands that microblog are at least somewhat trustworthy. Sixty-one percent of Chinese social network users have made a purchase because of digital advertising.
What do you think the repercussions will be of China’s internal social networking habits? Who’s missing out, China or the rest of the world?