Keeping Up With Social Media in China

Eighty percent of the world’s internet users are on social media. In many ways, our online footprint on social media has just as much of an impact as what we do in person. For institutions and organizations seeking to connect with potential customers, applicants, or partners, social media has never been more important.


This White Paper focuses on one of the world’s largest, deepest, most self-contained social media landscapes: China’s. In China, you can order in dinner, rent a bike, or buy a high speed train ticket with breakneck speed using the same app on your phone. But if you need to Google a question or see if you have any common Facebook friends with someone, think again. You’ll need considerable technical skill, a costly VPN service, and a friend who can share the elusive installation files with you. For any organization or institution committed to engaging Chinese users, it’s vitally important to talk to your audience on the platforms they use, a complicated task for institutions and organizations registered outside of China.


1. Generation Z drives many of the new trends in the social media space in China.

More than 28% of the global active social media users are from China, and these users tend to be very young. The number of social media users under the age of 24 in China has already reached 242 million, this demographic is called Generation Z (people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) according to Forbes and it is the most “socially active” demographic. For universities, colleges, and companies that recruit internationally, this presents a massive opportunity for those that who master “social media with Chinese characteristics. 

2. WeChat Mini Programs make WeChat a complete all-in-one super app.

Among all the updates and improvements that WeChat has been offering, certainly, the most hyped was the launch of WeChat Mini Programs in 2017. The term “Mini Programs” is a direct translation from its Chinese name, which means “sub-applications” inside the WeChat App and its ecosystem. These “sub-applications” are seen as more convenient because users do not need to download a new app, complete clunky registration forms, remember new passwords, or abide poor integrations with other WeChat tools like WeChat Pay.

3. Weibo has risen from the ashes and is the best tool to increase brand exposure and generate new leads.

Three years ago, many had pronounced that Weibo was “dead”, after a disastrous IPO roadshow and losing a tremendous number of users and market share to newcomer WeChat. But Weibo dug deep into the social media market in China and successfully located users and markets neglected by competitors. With new users coming in, Weibo also adjusted its content strategy and soon regained its popularity by pushing high quality “Key Opinion Leaders” and celebrity accounts.

Summer TanComment