China Youth: More Friends Online Than Offline


How many BFFs do you have?

Dunbar’s number is the famed 150 friends with whom humans are supposed to be able to keep close relations. For Asian youths, however, the average number of friends is 107.

Ian Stewart of MTV recently gave these statistics from an MTV and TNS study in a presentation about youth and social networking in Asia.

Thai youth are the friendliest, with young people having an average of 170 offline, online and close friends. More than twice as many as the 80 friends for youth in neighboring Vietnam have.

As for online friends, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and India all tend to have about 30 or fewer online friends, while Thai, Malaysian and Chinese youth all have more than 50 online friends.

The online friends number is not entirely related to broadband penetration or level of economic development. Young people in Australia, Korea and Taiwan have fairly low numbers of online friends.

One of the most striking cases, however, is China: The only country in Asia where people have more online friends than offline friends. This is yet another example of China tremendous engagement in Social Media and the Internet.

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  1. klukoff

    China is truly a leader in # of online friendships–I wonder if this is partially due to the fact that many Chinese will friend people they don't know at all in person. 5 years ago when I first joined Facebook it was that way too, but after a year quickly evolved to a model where only real-life acquaintances would friend each other.

    also, are the “close friends” counted as offline friends? or a separate category?

  2. Julian Chow Jian Sheng

    Just wondering…what are the definitions of online friends and offline friends? Are online friends people whom you only interact exclusively with online? And the same for offline friends?

  3. I would presume that online is friends with whom you interact only online. The offline ones could be both on and offline.

  4. Julian Chow Jian Sheng

    If that's the case, then it makes sense. Not surprised at the China data though. From reading in another of your posts that China has the highest number of online gamers, this stat makes more sense. My friends who intensely play games online (even if it's just Facebook games) have a huge number of online friends that they've never met before.

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  7. Actually I'm not really shocked with this statistics. Because at this time, where everyone can get online through many things and not to mention the rapid growth of Online Games is definitely changing the social behavior of community

  8. Interesting post. I have made a twitter post about this. Others no doubt will like it like I did.

  9. belgium

    Your data comes from MTV? Laugh. Like they're a pinnacle of good research.

  10. As referenced on the slide, the actual research was done by TNS. I always credit those whose research I am showing, even if they come from rival agencies.

    That said, I wouldn't knock MTV, however. You don't grow to be a global brand by accident!

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  17. Japanese youth culture is about rebellious individual self-expression, which is very interesting since Japans culture views individuality negatively.
    Followers of Japanese comics and animation- Manga and Anime – decided they enjoy dressing up as their favorite characters.Japanese teenage culture, also called Harajuku fashion, was created in Tokyo, and evolved into an international trend.
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