Top 10 Social Media in China for Marketing (updated 2019) – Marketing China

You will find in this complete Guide the Best social media in China for Marketing, with last update, figures and best strategies, done by expert.

Social Media in China in 2019

  • More than 800 million Chinese people are using Internet, 57.7% of the population compared to 300 million of the US.
  • There were around 673.5 million social media users in China in 2018. This makes China the world’s largest social media market, with people increasingly depending on such platforms to look for a place to share their opinions, ask for product recommendations, and connect with others.
  • Chinese social media landscape is unique and constantly evolves with the emergence of new players every year to keep up with the high demand
  • Global brands looking to build their presence in the Chinese market need to keep a close eye on what’s happening with these platforms.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to some of the most important Chinese social media sites, and examine the opportunities for businesses on these sites in 2019.

Social Media in China for Marketing


Some figures:

    • In Q4 – 2018, WeChat had almost

1.1 billion monthly active users



  • WeChat has 68M videos uploaded every day, becoming a strong competitor to Snapchat and YouTube.
  • WeChat users send averagely 38B messages daily , bringing the platform closer to WhatsApp’s daily average figure of 55 billion.
  • On average, users spend more than 66 minutes on WeChat daily.
  • 60% of WeChat users open the app more than 10 times a day .
  • By the end of 2017, the number of WeChat’s Official Accounts surpassed 20M .

How brands do marketing on Wechat?

Wechat started as an instant messaging app but now has developed an ecosystem where users can perform a wide variety of activities such as making transactions, ordering food, booking movie tickets, calling a taxi, playing games… The more users commit to Wechat and longer time they spend on the app, the greater marketing opportunities it offers.

It’s like the house of brands where they publish content, news, information, promotion … to update followers, which finally leads to more sales.

According to recent research, 49% of the WeChat users would share an article on WeChat if they believe it’s useful. Publishing valuable and compelling content on Wechat would enhance your brand image, increase customer engagement and convert your followers into buyers. Among all forms of content, video proves to be the most popular and effective on Wechat

WeChat introduced a search feature in 2018, which brands could utilize to improve the velocity of their content. The search function on WeChat is still relatively new, so extensive research and testing has yet to yield any concrete strategies for dominating WeChat search. If it’s like any other search engine, keyword optimization could help drive traffic to relevant articles.

WeChat added a “time capsule” feature in 2019 similar to Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook’s stories feature. A lesser-known addition was the “Wow” feature. If users click “like” button for an article on Wechat, the article will be shown to all the user’s contacts under the “Wow” tab under WeChat’s “Top Stories” section. This drastically increases the exposure of the articles organically.

    Location-Based Marketing:

WeChat can detect user location, enabling brands to target potential customers nearby. This feature covers more than 300 cities and 2,500 counties nationwide. Leveraging your WeChat followers’ location information can be beneficial for online and offline businesses.

Brands can create different HTML5 campaigns such as games, quizzes, voting… to boost engagement from followers or to create sales directly.

Brands leverage popular Wechat accounts of KOLs who have huge followings to spread the message.

Wechat ads includes Moment ads (shown on Moments) and banner ads (blended into targeted articles) to increase the reach for brands.

Some figures:

Check out this guide. It’d give you more detailed understanding into Wechat’s advertising and growth.

  • Number of Weibo active users: 465M (2019)
  • Number of daily users: 203M (2019)
  • 50% increas e in livestream sessions
  • Q&A postings increased by 400% in 2018 compared to 2017
  • 82 percent of Weibo users shop online

Weibo is basically an open social media platform (more than Wechat) where people not only post, share and interact but also get updated on trends and news. This is the place for content to go viral and for KOLs to build their online communities.

How brands do marketing on Weibo?

Like on any social media, brands can create their accounts and post interesting contents to attract and engage followers. Once articles are read by a certain number of users, they can gain popularity on the hot-topic or super-topic community forums.

    Videos and livestreaming :

Weibo has its own live stream platform, called Yizhibo live, which quickly rose to popularity after its release. It has attracted KOLs and celebrities to do product and service promotions.

Brands can link Taobao stores and products in their posts. With many users already having Alipay linked to their Weibo accounts, they can purchase featured products with just one click. Therefore, Weibo can be very effective in driving online sales.

One of the most recent features on Weibo is the stories feature. It’s very similar to Instagram stories but as of now, only verified official accounts can post a story.

Some figures:

3. QQ: The biggest digital platform you’ve never heard of

  • QQ was launched in 1999 (5 years before Facebook).
  • It had 850 monthly active users in 2017 .
  • Total daily messages 2018: 13.6B
  • Time spent online by post-90s generation: 3.84 hours/day

Why marketers should consider QQ?

At launch, QQ was just a simple instant messenger. Today, you can play online games, send and receive emails and large files, share Snapchat-style disappearing videos and animations, and join online groups of like-minded individuals. You can also stream music, find a partner via QQ’s dating service, and use the Facebook-like Qzone for sharing with friends and reading their posts in your news feed.

    QQ’s demographics trend towards the young and unsophisticated. 60% are under 30 years old and come from tier 2-3 cities. They have weak power of consumption, but strong potential. They also have more time to spend on entertainment and stronger willing to try new stuff. Brands can use QQ to engage with younger and future generation of consumption.
  • QQ is also popular in the workplace. They like its ease of use and facility for transmitting large files like images and video. White-collar workers use QQ for daily communication and file transfering instead of email.
  • Many celebrities use also QQ and Qzone to communicate with fans. Chinese boy band TFBoys boasts 42 million QQ followers.
  • QQ groupchats allow users of the same interests to connect and brands to run tareget campaigns
  • QQ shopping enable users to browse products from and purchase them easily.

Some figures:

4. YOUKU (The Chinese Youtube)

  • 580M active users (2018)
  • Average Daily Active Users (DAU): 39.6 Million (Sep 2018)
  • Aver no. of daily video view: 1.18B video views
  • Average Visit Duration: 4 minutes 7 seconds (Dec 2018)

Youku is often called the Youtube of China. Yes, as Youtube, it’s a video hosting service. In China, Youku is one of the most important online video and streaming service platform. The unique point of Youku is that it offers long-form videos. Despite the emergence of short video and livestreaming platforms, longer videos are still prefered when users want to gain deeper knowledge, learn about a topic or watch news.

Youku can help brands to:

There’s definitely still life in long-form video. It’s more searchable and appealing if you want to learn something or have a fuller experience with a content creator.

  • Reach out to a wider audience through a widely accessible media platform
  • Increase brand awareness and loyalty
  • Greater exposure for your brand via video content
  • Drive traffic to your website and increase sales

Some figures:

Check out this guide for more details on how to do marketing on Youku.

  • Baidu Tieba, a social network owned by Baidu, was established in December 2003 with forum-like features and now has one billion registered users with close to 8.2 million topic boards .
  • The number of monthly active users is close to 300 million .

Tieba is essentially a BBS (bulletin board system) or online community where users can search or create a forum (or “bar”) by simply entering a query within the search bar. If the forum doesn’t exist yet, there will be one automatically created from the query.

One of the things that makes Tieba so great is that the topics can be hyper-specific; anything from niche video games to types of cell phone cases can be a “bar” (topic).

One thing to keep in mind is that Tieba doesn’t allow ads. So make sure to keep your posting informative as possible and try not to include too many links.

Users, especially businesses, can create their own content and target specific niche groups through the platform. Businesses can post on a range of topics and utilize the platform to engage with other users. This is what makes it so popular for many social media marketers in China.

Some figures:

Using this platform correctly can help develop an organic presence in China without paid advertising. This platform can be very useful for businesses that have good brand awareness in China, yet little presence on Chinese social media platforms. It can also be a powerful tool for collecting feedback from Chinese netizens.

Zhihu, the Chinese version of Quora, is a popular online Q & A and social platform in China.

Zhihu was attracted from the beginning to the social elites like lawyers, independent consultants, IT professional and entrepreneurs who want to share their specialities with others and gain wisdom in return.

So what makes Zhihu an ideal place for content marketing?

Besides, Zhihu gave high authority on answers that get most up votes and they don’t order the answers by time series. This also helps encourage people to get serious about answering. In these ways, Zhihu has maintained high trustworthiness among users.

  • Users on Zhihu are promising consumers. Zhihu’s user base are high income, high consumption, and highly educated perople. 30% of Zhihu users make more than 10,000 RMB per month.
  • Free SEO option; This is due to the high domain authority Zhihu has on mainstream search engines like Baidu, Sogou. Whenever a keyword is searched on Baidu, you can always see a Zhihu Q&A (if has) on the first SERP. In this way brand can also get some free ride on SEO.
  • Long term branding for brands; Zhihu’s voting mechanism enables good content to last. Many brands say even today they can get upvote on the posts/answers that were published in year 2011. Long-term branding will work very well on this platform.
  • KOLs promotion: top contributors on Zhihu have managed to gain massive followings on the platform thanks to their in-depth answers. Collaborating with these top contributors can help brands reach their target audience and cultivate a sense of trust from Zhihu users.

7. TOUTIAO: The Hottest News, Information & Entertainment Platform

Toutiao, which literally means “Today’s Headlines”, is an emerging mobile platform of content creation, aggregation and distribution, featured by machine learning techniques.

  • Toutiao App’s daily active users reached over 200 million
  • An average user opens the app 9 times per day and uses it 76 minutes per day .
  • Known as the No. 1 intelligent content distribution platform in China, it has got over 1.1 million accounts , which update over 380,000 pieces of contents and achieve 4.2 billion views per day.

The most significant selling point of Toutiao is its “intelligent news feed”, where artificial intelligence and machine learning software tailor and bring audience content based on their unique interests and browsing history. Its AI-powered information/content platform means, the more people use it, the more data people can contribute. The more data people contribute, the better-fit content they will see, then the more frequently people use it.

Imagine obtaining access to Toutiao’s huge databse of sticky users, hungering for new information. Placing advertisements on the platform or releasing advertorials can have exceptional effects on brands.

Brands can also register an account on Toutiao to publish quality content and gain followers. Various renowned news firms such as CCTV news and have joined to seek greater exposure through the platform.

Some figures:

8. Douyin: TIK TOK the most popular Short-video Platform from 2018

  • Since 2016, China’s short-form video platform has entered a period of rapid development and continues to gain momentum.
  • As of November 2018, Douyin had 400 million monthly active users , 200 million daily active users and an average time spent on the app per user of 52 minutes per day !

Douyin allows users to create and share creative and trendy short-form videos. Short-form videos are, unlike long-form video, optimal for engagement and virality. Douyin provides the ability to edit videos with engaging special effects and funny stickers to inspire its users to produce more and share more these kinds of funny short videos with their friends.

  • Brands can use content marketing to attract users. However, a brand’s content has to carry the right tone to be a good fit for the platform and must not be intrusive. Some brands (Airbnb, Harbin Beer and Chevrolet) collaborate with Douyin influencers to share their brands (though content that appears in the user’s information stream) in a way that is consistent with both the Douyin tone and brands’ personalities.
  • Customized challenges on Douyin is an effective way to create a social buzz for brands: Douyin is really great at creating challenges for users to engage and prove their creativity. This tactic incentivizes mass participation and results in social buzz that can connect users to brands more effectively.

For example, Ctrip, China’s leading online travel agency, partnered with Douyin to initiate a hashtag challenge during National Day holidays. Ctrip encouraged users to share their creative traveling experience with Ctrip’s sticker and tagged cities. Not only Ctrip harvested more than 4 billion views within just a week , the company also collected the top traveling city data for further marketing purpose.

Some figures:

9. Meituan Dianping: (the Social Media for the Food lovers)

  • Meituan Dianping was named as one of the most innovative companies globally and has risen to become China’s No.1 marketplace for various services.
  • It had 340 million annual users in 2018 which indicated that 1 in 4 Chinese people has made a purchase on the platform.
  • The company works with 4.7 million merchants, including restaurants, hotels, movie theatres, hair salons and others, across more than 2800 cities and countries in China.
  • The platform generated over 20 million transactions per day in 2018.

Meituan is China’s leader in O2O (offline-to-online) services, creating a one-stop super app for a range of services, from haircuts, manicures and massages, to movie tickets, food delivery and hotel bookings.

Businesses can reach out to Meituan Dianping’s huge database by advertisements. They can choose from a wide range of services including search engine optimization, image promotion, URL promotion and website ads offered by the platform.

Some figures:

Additionally, like other Chinese social media, Meituan Dianping owns big data of users such as demographics, location, consuming patterns and preferences. By analyzing their target customers and tailor-making their marketing strategies, brands can increase customer loyalty and brand awareness.

  • Momo’s monthly active users grew to , compared to 91.3 million in June 2017, an increase of 18% YoY .
  • It also reported that users were spending more time on the app, growing by 11% YOY .

Momo is one of China’s leading mobile-based social and entertainment platforms that include a live-streaming platform and online dating platforms. It’s popular for making friends with nearby strangers. And, it was well known as a tool for “getting laid” with strangers.

Momo users can find people nearby and send each other text messages, images, location information, and voice messages. It enables users to establish and expand their social relationships based on locations and interests.

Why Momo is important for businesses?

To do so, Momo creates various location and interest-based features, such as Nearby Users, Groups, Message Board, Topics and Nearby Events, multi-media instant messaging tools, as well as popular mobile games. The various functions are connected with each other. For example, Nearby People function features links to nearby Groups and Nearby Events

One of Momo’s biggest sources of revenue comes from advertising. They also launched a new advertising platform for offline retailers.

Advertisers can target customers through location-based services as well as standard targeting options based on interests, demographics, etc. For instance, when users are searching for their potential dates, advertisers can place an ad for a local bar or club with a discount offer on their result sites so as to attract customers to pay a visit.

Momo offers relatively advanced targeting for advertising, as users purposely fill in their accounts with information on their interests and more to make themselves attractive to other users. This makes advertising on Momo very powerful for businesses, so this one makes the list!


These 10 Chinese social media sites above were the hottest ones in 2018. There are other social media platforms which target specific industries that we haven’t mentioned in this article. So make sure to research and find the platform that makes the most sense for your business. Social media marketing in China can be difficult and complicated at the first size, but they are amazing tools for brands to reach and connect with Chinese audience.




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