China marketing lessons: 14 best Chinese social networks

Chinese social networks

This post, inspired by the excellent research work of  Kai Lukoff, describes the major social networks active in China.

  1. Sina Weibo – Sina Weibo is a red-hot microblogging service that threatens China’s social networks with a new model. Can microblogging surpass social networking in terms of popularity in China? Its features now far surpass those of Twitter, including threaded comments, pictures, videos, IM, and LBS.
  2. RenRen – RenRen is China’s leading real-name social network. It’s setting the standard for SNS in China.
  3. Douban – Douban has perhaps the strongest community of any social network in China. It’s never had explosive growth or a massive user base, but it attracts young urban Chinese who together over movies, books, music, and events. A good network for hipsters and creatives.
  4. Qzone – China’s largest social network is built on the back of the 637 million active accounts for Tencent’s QQ Messenger.
  5. Kaixin001 – Kaixin001 gained popularity amongst white-collar workers via its social games and post-forwarding features. But as the social games mania has died down and the appeal of its post-forwarding has been usurped by Sina Weibo.
  6. Pengyou – Tencent’s latest entry into the real-name social networking space has many users. But even more so than with Qzone, the real question is, how strong is the social graph?
  7. – enjoyed early popularity among comparatively rural users, but now appears to be in a downward spiral.
  8. Taomee – A social network and gaming site (similar to the Disney-owned Club Penguin) that’s massively popular with Chinese children (and their mothers). Taomee is in fact the parent company that runs a number of different children’s sites, including: Moer (mole-themed), Saier (sci-fi themed), and XiaoHua (princess-themed).
  9. Tencent Weibo – Tencent is also aggressively pushing its Weibo (microblog) service in order to compete with Sina. It claims over 100 million registered users, but again with Tencent there’s the concern of quality over quantity–iResearch reports that Sina Weibo controls 87% of time spent by Chinese users on microblogs, while Tencent holds only 9%.
  10. Jiayuan – China’s most popular online dating site, which is rumored to have plans for an IPO.
  11. Tao Jianghu – A social network based around the massively popular e-commerce site, Taobao. Profiles are automatically created for Taobao users, though the vast majority are skeletons; only a fraction of users are active. Adding a social layer is one of Taobao’s key objectives for 2011.
  12. Bai Shehui – The “white-collar society” network by Sohu, one of China’s largest internet portals. Sohu also develops its own social games for this platform.
  13. Zhenai – One of China’s leading dating sites, which is also rumored to be preparing for an IPO.
  14. Baihe – One of China’s leading dating sites.

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