Infographics: How big is China’s social media and digital market?

December 13, 2011Jing Gao4 Comments, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From We Are Social and GPlus

The following infographic comes from We Are Social, a global consultancy agency that specializes in compiling reports on social media. This infographic vividly illustrates the sheer size and growth momentum of China’s social, digital and mobile market and how that translates to commercial opportunities for potential investors. However, due to lack of transparency in official statistics, methodology and source differences, there are many similar infographics out there that can sometimes tell a conflicting and even diagonally different story, and we, as native Chinese net users, do entertain a healthy dose of doubt as to if some of the information is accurate or mere overstatement. One thing is certain, with the Chinese Internet population nearing 500 million and its ever-expanding middle class, China’s digital market is a gold mine just too enticing to be ignored.

You may be very impressed by Chinese people’s active involvement in social networking. This can be partially explained by an element of Chinese culture – guanxi, meaning interpersonal relationships and connections, which is expected to bring emotional fulfillment, spiritual comfort and even favors and tangible benefits.

(Taken from TechOrange’s report on Tianji, China’s largest business-related social netwrok.)

Chinese netizens believe the Internet is the most engaging medium – even more engaging than TV.

The number of Internet users in China is greater than the total population of Western Europe.

An overview of China’s social, digital and mobile market.

There are around 10 million new Internet users in China every month.

Jing: This figure is a bit surreal. That amounts to an annual increase in Internet users of 120 million, an apparent exaggeration. According to the latest report released in July 2011 by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the administrative agency responsible for Internet affairs under the Ministry of Information Industry, in the first half of 2011, the growth rate of China’s Internet population was 6.1%, the lowest in recent years. There were 27.7 million more net users than at the end of 2010, which averages out to be 4.6 million news users per month. 

Number of rural Internet users in China: 130 million

Chinese netizens spend an average of 150 minutes online every day.

Chinese people aged 18 to 27 spend almost 5 hours per day using E-mail and the web.

87% of Chinese Internet users access the Internet and watch TV at the same time.

China’s netizens spend 41% of their online time on social networks.

77% of Chinese web users believe a social media presence makes a brand more attractive.

Top social networks in China by user numbers.

Jing: You can easily tell the numbers of users of top Chinese social networks provided here are at best faulty, if you look at another picture in the same series, which claimed that Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo respectively have 25 million and 50 million users, instead of 310 M and 250 M charted here in this one.  

More important, Sina Weibo has been said by most researchers and China watchers to be the largest microblogging service in China and the second in the word, behind Twitter. Though I am suspicious of both self-reported user counts, as many of the “registered users” on either platform are “zombie and phantom accounts” that send spam to other users, Tencent’s user count is more wishy-washy, for it is likely that many Tencent Weibo users are registering through QQ, which makes their stats run particularly high.  

Age breakdown of users on Chinese social networks.

The average Chinese social media users has 2.78 social media profiles.

QZone has more than 530 million active user accounts.

That’s three times greater than the total user base of Facebook across the whole of Asia.

The number of Facebook users in China is less than 1% of the number of QZone users.

But China still has more Facebook users than Estonia.

Facebook demographics in China.

Top Facebook pages in China

Growth in the number of people using Weibos in the first half of 2011.

More people use Weibos in China than live in the whole of the United States.

Daily active users of China’s biggest microblogs: Tencent VS Sina.

Jing: As I said earlier, this is in contradiction to the data charted in another picture

Twitter is usually blocked in China, but 0.9 million people in China still visit every month.

The number of users on Jiepang, China’s hottest location-based social networks, is 1.5 million.

Number of users on China’s Tianji, professional social networks: 8 million.

Number of LinkedIn users in China: 1.85 million.

QQ, China’s largest instant messenger platform, has more than 700 million registered users.

QQ’s population is more than double the population of the USA.

QQ’s owners – Tencent – made more than US$760 million in the third quarter of 2011 alone.

That is about $5,737 per minute.

Online video viewers in China in 2011: 465 million.

Daily visitors to, China’s equivalent of Youtube: 26.4 million.

That’s more than the population of Australia.

40% of Chinese netizens are ‘content creators.’ (That’s more than twice the rate in the USA)

Chinese netizens conducted more than 77.5 million web searches in the third quarter of 2011 alone.

That’s almost 10,000 every second.

Online shoppers in China: 173 million.

Value of Chinese E-Commerce in Q2 2o11: US$26.75 billion.

On an annualized basis, that’s more than the GDP of Vietnam.

Online shoppers in China spend an average of US$600 per person per year.

Chinese netizens spend an average of 5 hours per week shopping on the Internet.

Average number of items sold every minute on 48,000.

Value of transactions on Taobao on November 11, 2011 alone: US$817 million.

That’s about $9,456 every second.

Number of people using group-buying sites (Jing’s note: similar to Groupon) in China: 42 million.

81% of Chinese youth check online comments before making a purchase decision.

66% of Chinese Internet users access via mobile devices.

People in China can use their mobile phones to:
Buy Starbucks coffee;
Buy subway tickets;
Do their banking;
Do their shopping;
Buy lottery tickets.

70% of Chinese people say they can’t live without their phone.

Another juicy infographic by GPlus (not to be confused with Google Plus)

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4 comments to “Infographics: How big is China’s social media and digital market?”

  1. Hong | December 13, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    I somewhat sensed that the GFW is now not solely for political reasons. It has been abused to throw unbelievable stupid shelter on China’s domestic copycats— Weibo instead of Twitter; Qing instead of Tumblr; Baidu instead of Google. The latest to add to the casualty list turns out to be UrbanOutfitters’ US website!!!—what they want that for? Pushing all poor struggling customers to Taobao?

  2. real name | December 13, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    is there any graph of number of arrested people because of their activities at local chinese network compared to any western country population? or something with number of professional online censors and correct thinking submitters?

  3. liz | December 21, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    “China has more Facebook users than Estonia”?! The population of Estonia is a THOUSAND times smaller than that of China (1.3 million vs 1.3 billion).

  4. Claudia Acker | March 19, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    This is one awesome blog.Really thanks! Cool.

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