In Russia, it’s VK. In Japan, it’s Mixi. Until very recently, Orkut was No. 1 in Brazil. Facebook, it turns out, is not always the all-dominating social media platform it is here in the U.S. Nowhere is this more obviously the case than in China, where it may be ok for Mark Zuckerberg to appear in documentaries about extreme police force but his brand of social networking, well, it’s a little less welcome. According to a recent McKinsey study that surveyed 5,700 Chinese internet users, despite the censorship of many western sites like Facebook and Twitter, the planet’s most populous country still manages to dominate the digital social space. Today, China accounts for one-fifth of the world’s internet users and has increased its online community by a factor of 22 — from 23 million to 513 million — in just 12 years.
An overwhelming 95 percent of Chinese living in Tier One, Two and Three cities (broadly defined as city-centres that are prefecture-level and larger) are presently members of a social networking site–and 50 percent belong to two or more. Lest you think these numbers don’t reflect retention of regular users, an almost as high 91 percent say they’ve logged into these accounts at least once in the past six months. Compare this with just 30 percent in Japan and 67 percent here in the U.S.
The social media landscape in China is different from that of Russia and Japan, both of whose most popular social sites look and act nearly identical to Facebook, in that China’s most popular networks, Qzone (560 million users) and Tencent Weibo (337 million users) are comparatively unique platforms. The country’s closest Facebook cousins, Renren (147 million users) and Kaixin (120 million users), come in a distant fifth and six, respectively.
(Image via Best Free Online)