Over the last few years, China has popularized the use of the Internet. The number of Chinese Internet users is the highest in the world. According to a CNNIC study (China Internet Network Information Center), in 2011, China has 500 million internet users.
235 millions are social media users and 148 millions are bloggers. In China, Internet is a segmented market. There are numerous Facebook and Twitter clones. On average, a Chinese internet user is registered to three social networks. On the international/global market, Facebook is the world most popular social network.
In china there is Qzone, Kaixin, and RenRen. These are large social networks.
There are different groups of users.
Besides, to compare with occidental internet users, the chinese ones like to create and share contents.
China is known for its imitated products and social networks are not exception.
“Twitter, Facebook and similar kinds are confined in a cocoon before being able to become popular… News imitations are continuously created in order to provide alternative solutions to Chinese people: Renren for Facebook , SinaWeibo for Twitter, Youku for Youtube, etc . It’s a phenomenon which appeals the government”. (Synthesio Study about Chinese social media)
Chinese social networks are very similar to those from other countries with some singularities. The HP Labs realized a documentary comparing Twitter and Sina Weibo.
The three authors, Louis Yu, Sitaram Asur, Bernardo Huberman, have then analysed the most popular topics on these two networks. Significant differences of contents are visible.
In China, the internet users share jokes, pictures, videos, retweets, in other words distractive content.
On twitter, internet users like to share articles who takes about actuality. There are very few distractive contents. On Sina Weibo, contents are released through text form, pictures, videos or links. However, on Twitter the user can only publish links or images.
Nowadays, Sina Weibo is not the network which counts the largest number of users (250 million users – source : Sina Weibo, October 2011) but it is the most popular network in big Chinese cities.