Holaba; Ranking China’s Social Networks: Tencent Qzone Tops the List.

Data from Holaba: is a site speciallized in aggregating comments on different prestige brands in almost every business field in China. The resource of this graph comes from its poll function (see the screenshot below) which has now ranked Qzone (Tencent) as the 1st SNS in China.


Major vs Minor China Social Media Networks.

This illustration is chosen from Nielsen‘s APAC Social Media Report (June, 2010):

The 4 dominators are colored brown and they are:

BBS section, including,,,,;

Social Network section, including,;

Blog section, including,,,;

Microblog section, including,,,


Evolution of China Social Media (1994-2010).

Selected from Roland Berger and CIC Strategy Consultants’ Chinese Consumer Report 2010:

China netizens prefer to share their reviews or experience through internet in recent years, and they have changed from discussing simple topics, to becoming active participants in all things digitally social. From discussing topics through BBS, to discussing their lives on IM, and expanding their friendships through social networks, as in the West Chinese have evolved their online interactions; albeit through completely different networks than their western counterparts.

resonance_netizen interaction

Engaging China’s Netizens; Activity + Reward.

From CIC, China’s netizen’s preferred activities online.

We see a distinct preference for Entertainment driven activities, followed by events and lottery. China’s social environment, both online and offline push emphasis for low-cost methods of interaction on the web, be it social or entertainment driven.

This leads us to rewards for interaction. China’s netizens tend to be practical, rather than gaining knowledge, they look to getting cash or gifts, or free product trials.

When Brands plan campaigns, its important to take into account what drives the average Chinese netizen; while there is connection and engagement with the Brand, this doesn’t come without addition costs in the form of rewards. while China’s market is not unique to rewards for interaction, it may be unique in its emphasis of the tangible over the intangible.


Prestige Brands Most Buzzed on RenRen & Qzone.

Complied by L2, the below graph shows brand buzz on one of China’s most popular SNS sites (a Facebook clone) and Qzone. From this we get a pretty good idea of buzz in English and Chinese, but further, we get a sense of populations across these social network sites.

You could almost see these two networks as reflective of tier1 cities (Renren) and below tier one cites. Population on Renren tends to be more educated, evidenced by English speaking ability taught in high school and college, vs. lower tiered cities that show less education, but greater overall population.

However, education isn’t necessarily an indicator of wealth; and its definitely not correlated to dreaming about wealth. China’s netizens think in parallel about major brands with BMW, Mercedes, and LV at top of mind as status symbols.


Nielsen Asia Pacific Social Media Report.

Nielsen’s recent social media report release gives great insight into the region; but let’s focus on China specifically.

Some of the key elements to note; of which we’ve discovered through our own campaigns; is that BBS’s dominate China social media, and this is where buzz campaigns and engagement are typically generated.

Looking deeper; social gaming is an excellent, through very expensive alternative to engagement on BBS, and the use of online celebs and bloggers are a common staple in a social media campaign diet.

Chinese being more likely to write a negative review is also quite true; though we’ve found they tend not to be as negative as those found in the west; so while overall quantity of negative comments are high; the overall depth of the negativity isn’t.

From Nielsen’s press release:

  • All about BBS, not the SNS: Bulletin board systems underpin popular social media behaviour in China – over 80 percent of social media content is bulletin board systems.
  • Revenue from Social Games: Social media games are used as a stimuli to drive new users and gain reach with existing users, while content sharing behaviours are more popular among the more experienced users. Virtual product placement within social networking site games is becoming one of the most profitable methods of revenue for social networking sites, generating between US$200,000 to US$500,000 per month on product placement.
  • Online Celebs are hotter than offline: ‘Grass roots’ celebrity tracking dominates online conversations in China, with grass roots celebrities such as Phoenix Sister and Mr Yuan outperforming real life celebrities in popularity.
  • Chinese are negative: Chinese Internet users are the most likely in Asia Pacific to post a negative online product review, and are the only consumers in the region more likely to share negative reviews than positive reviews – 62% of Chinese Internet users say they are more likely to share a negative review compared to 41 percent globally.

R3: Budweiser Kicks off 2010 FIFA World Cup “Bud Babe Call” China Digital Campaign.

Budweiser partners with wwwins Isobar to launch a 2010 FIFA World Cup ‘Bud Babe Call’ campaign for Anheuser-Busch InBev, using state-of-the-art interactive voice response (IVR) technology. Launching at midnight on June 10th for the duration of the 2010 World Cup, the campaign marks the first time IVR is introduced into China.

The Budweiser Soccer Babe campaign hopes to attract users, or mostly men, beer and football fans as the main target audience, to virtually interact with their preferred Bud Babe via IVR technology.Fans can book calls with selected Bud Babes and also vote for their favourite. The winner of the Bud Babe beauty and talent competition will become the new Budweiser brand ambassador in China.

“Adopting such a break-through innovation into this campaign will enhance the image of the Budweiser brand. It is expected to generate massive user engagement because of the highly customised interactivity,” said Daniel Tao, business director at wwwins Isobar.

Research R3 Beijing; See source post from

littleredbook_china social platforms

Which Social Platforms Do Chinese Prefer?

How do Chinese netizens prefer to interact with Brands? According to CIC netizens prefer neutral 3rd party BBS (bulletin board systems) for brand information, rather than corporate owned digital assets.

This makes sense; rather than looking for canned content; finding Brand information on BBS’s give a sense of authenticity and truthful opinion; consumers go to BBS to find real information on Brands.

This being the case, Brand’s should make an effort to monitor and track conversations on BBS to give them a better sense of their impact on consumers.

littleredbook_iwom purchases

Chinese Netizen Reliance on Internet Word of Mouth.

Before Chinese netizens purchase products, do they go online to check what others say? According to CIC they certainly do.

Topping the list are mobile phones; followed closely by consumer electronics. Seeing as how mobile phones are owned by everyone (thereby more people searching/reviewing), as well as how China’s youth identify with their phones as close friends, it’s no wonder that this product tops the charts. Before the buy, China’s netizens want to make sure they are buying the right phone, with the right message to their social groups.

The bigger picture beyond mobile phones is China’s netizens rely heavily on peer to peer communications before making important “buy” decisions online. This being that case, it is important for brands to be every where consumers make decisions, if they’re to have impact in this ultra competitive landscape.