Infographic: China's Social Media Evolution

Six months ago Ogilvy’s China social media team created an infographic to show some of the local platforms thriving in place of the major international equivalents.

Since then, new social media platforms have become relevant – on both sides of the Great Firewall – and so the team reworked the infographic. They have also widened the scope to include more platforms within some of the categories.

Major changes include:

Three new categories: professional social networks, which may become more important with LinkedIn’s China future still uncertain, mobile chat, and online music.

GroupOn’s Chinese platform: Although just launched, if their planned investment is anything to go by and they get over some of their initial obstacles, GroupOn China is likely to become a major player in the next few months.

Quora: Although different to Yahoo Answers, which it replaced, Quora is now the Q&A platform everybody is talking about. On the China side we have included its direct equivalent, Zhihu, as well as Baidu Zhidao and Tianya Wenda, which are more like Yahoo Answers.

More Tencent: This Chinese internet giant has been given a lot more face than last time, with the addition of their microblog and the highly populated but relatively inactive Qzone.

Making graphics like this is, of course, far from an exact science. Many of the changes are debatable and the Chinese equivalents also have very different features from their equivalents. Inevitably, there is also the difficulty relating to category crossovers.

Suggestions welcomed in the comments!

Leave a Reply


  1. wolfgroupasia

    I like the chart – it is clean, and it starts to add order to what might otherwise seem a chaotic online environment.

    The challenge in creating charts like this that “equivocate” social media in China with global Internet brands is that it obscures major (and, for marketers important) differences in how such services are seen and used by Chinese netizens. That's fine for those of us who understand the nuances, but for clients who really don't understand China, this could lead to some incorrect thinking, bad planning, and worse results.

    I know Ogilvy 360 will use this chart with due care. So should everyone else.

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  9. Shu Zhao

    In the Deal-of-the-day part, I really want to mention one brand “糯米网” (Nuomi, Glutinous rice)。

    It might not be the best GroupOn’s platform in China. But I really admire its marketing strategy to cooperated with Renren. The API of Nuomi through Renren is useful. Most user in Renren are students or recently graduated students. Deal-of-the-day is a good way to save money. I think Nuomi found a suitable way for its brand to do marketing through social network in China. What do you think?

  10. Thanks for publishing the chart – nice to have an all in one reference. Might I make one suggestion though – please consider reversing the order. Labels on the inside then western logo, finally the Chinese platforms. That would give them a lot more room to breathe and grow in number.

  11. Antoine

    Hi Thomas,
    I'm surprised that Tianji is not in this infographic (professional social network)…

  12. Thomas Crampton

    Excellent idea! Problem is that we have invested in the format, doing it in the same way across many markets. Perhaps we should reverse them all.

  13. Thomas Crampton

    Thanks! Will check it out. There are so many Groupon-like sites in China. We started to compile a list, but gave up after 100.

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  15. jacky

    nice sharing.

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  24. Simon

    The professionnal SNS is going through a huge development in China with the arrival last year of Gaoren and Jingwei. This market is at its early stage of development , but the fierce competition ( more than 10 actors on this market) may hamper its development .

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  27. mort73

    Great chart. However, I have a suggestion. I would be great if you could highlight the most influential players in each categorie (either by active users or usage) – that would give me an indication of which media to focus on.

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