China: a parallel social media universe

At Made in, we are surrounded by social media and are always aware of the latest app, the new feature, the trending network, etc. But we live far from what we could almost call a parallel social universe. Different, cultures, politics, firewalls and alphabets have made way for Asia to evolve in a different social world than us. China alone has enough different networks to get you lost. We’ll be sharing more information on Asian networks and the opportunities that arise from them in the near future. Stay tuned!

Here’s a glance at the top 5 Chinese social networks:


QQ, one of China’s oldest social network, began as an instant messaging desktop software inspired by the late ICQ. Nowadays, it integrates with other online services and features: blogs, microblogs, games, emails and online payment. The platform counts close to 1 billion active users. Basically, it is hard to find a Chinese person which doesn’t use QQ.

source: Attract China.


QZone was developed by the same company as QQ: Tencent. It is the closest platform to Facebook as we know it. User personal accounts are divided into different sections:  homepage, status, blog, background music, albums, personal information, shared documents, friend visits, friend show, video show, and games. Not all features are free and the longer you are a registered user, the more features you have access to.



In a few words, WeChat is an instant messaging platform combined with e-commerce. The basic text, voice and picture messages are part of the deal, but WeChat also allows users to share images and text as “Moments”. Only the user’ friends can like and comment on the aforementioned “Moments”. Linked to Facebook and Twitter, the users also have the possibility to share the posts on these platforms. With more than 700 million users, WeChat has every incentive to expand and offer more services. Thus, with the WePay feature. The app provides banking and payment services, taxi, tables and flight booking, and gaming and shopping. All of this without being linked to a credit card. WeChat has the ambition to connect everything. Seems as though it’s under way.

source: Apple.


Sina Weibo is China’s Twitter-like social media. Weibo literally translates into micro-blog and counts some 400 million users. Files, images, and videos can be shared through the platform. It is largely mobile-focused and often leveraged by celebrities, brands and industry experts to communicate directly with consumers. For example, official divisions, such as the government, have created Weibo accounts to speak and receive feedback from the public. Although Twitteresque, Weibo goes far beyond in its functionalities with its long-form which allows users posts to be up to 10,000 characters long and embellished with fonts and colors.

source: Weibo.


Last but not least, especially in the influencer marketing industry, Douban is a sort of Chinese MySpace and is popular with special interest groups and communities. As the primary review based social network site in China, its 200 million users can share opinions and thoughts on a variety of topics. Chinese consumers are strongly influenced by personal recommendations and so content on this platform can largely impact brand and product credibility. What is interesting about Douban is that users do not have to register an account to use the network. Luxury brands use Douban to activate word-of-mouth marketing and generate conversation on brand owned pages.

source: Sampi.

Opportunities for brands?

Some international brands are already on these networks, but the white space for marketers worldwide is astounding and the information on the subject is scarce, outdated and often not user or marketer friendly.  Stay tuned for updates!

Clara Tairraz

Clara Tairraz

Brunch enthusiast, avid traveller and inexhaustible dancer, Clara manages Made in's European accounts and is based in Paris. Sponsorships manager in her old life, she always seeks new colourful and creative ways to make brands shine. Her secret weapon: unparalleled positivity

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