5 Chinese social networks the art trade needs to watch – Mashable

Emerging Chinese social media platforms: powerful tools with which to explore and promote contemporary art in China.

Promotion on social media is overtaking traditional advertising methods in China, too. Art Radar showcases the latest developments in Chinese social media that may help those in the art trade to find customers.

Just some of the social media platforms operating in China in 2012. Image by Art Radar.

Just some of the social media platforms operating in China in 2012. Image by Art Radar.

Top 5 Chinese social media platforms

The summary below is extracted from an article published in July 2012 on Mashable, written by Yin Mei, a Beijing-based international consultant for The Hoffman Agency. As Yin Mei states in the article,

Connections mean ‘power’ in China. This is why social networks have become part of the relationship-building fabric of Chinese society. The numbers certainly bear this out. Roughly half of China’s 513 million netizens are using social networking sites, and all of these social networks are home grown.

Sina Weibo Sina Weibo has “more than twice as many users as Twitter”. It allows users to “include images and video, something Twitter is only now beginning to allow”. With its unique capabilities, Sina Weibo is now China’s “top platform for social discourse and a big driver for consumer activity [as well as being] a celebrity hub”.

Renren Facebook may be banned in China, but Chinese citizens are well connected through the local equivalent, Renren. Renren “is poised to take over as the social networking platform for the college-educated population in China”.

Tencent This platform for the masses “was essentially built on the QQ Instant Messaging service” and, because it functions like a media hub with a variety of different services, “maintains the biggest community in China in terms of sheer registered users”.

Douban Douban is an open forum popular “among intellectuals for movie, music and book reviews”. Douban “allow[s] unregistered users to access about eighty percent of the site’s content” and records about eighty million active users per month, despite the fact that there are only sixty million registered users.

Wechat Because “more than 69 percent of the Chinese population accesses the Internet through mobile devices”, Wechat meets the market’s needs as “a mobile voice and text app with social features such as friend discovery”. Functions like “a photo-sharing platform and an LBS (Location-based service) component” have attracted 100 million users in China to join Wechat.

One more social network

YY.com is another important Chinese social media platform that should not be overlooked. According to an article published by Forbes in June 2012, YY was started with Duowan.com, which was a portal for Chinese gamers founded in 2005 with up-to-date information on online games and a high quality editing service. In 2008, YY launched “a voice-based gaming communications service, which enabled gamers to voice chat over the Internet and text chat in real-time while slaying monsters or coordinating gaming missions”.

Since then, YY has developed into a large social communication platform which is not exclusive to gamers. Once it threw video streaming capabilities into the mix, the number of registered users grew quickly, due mainly to the fact that users can convert the virtual currency that they earn from the audiences who watch their performances, such as live music shows and educational programmes, into real money. The site currently boasts over 300 million users and 8.45 million concurrent users were recorded on the platform in December 2011.

Do you known any leading social media platforms in China that have not been mentioned above? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.

PW/KN/HH

Related Topic: art media, website reviews, art and the Internet

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