Comparing Western social media to Chinese
Social media in China is extremely different to what western countries are used to. Despite it being extremely difficult for western social media apps to enter the Chinese market due to the Great Firewall of China, replacements have been made accessible to the Chinese.
Whatsapp vs WeChat
Everyone has heard of Whatsapp, and yes, as expected it is not available in China. The most common replacement used is WeChat. Whilst Wechat began as a simple messaging app copying Whatsapp, it has grown to become far more than that. Check out our blog, ‘What is Wechat’, which covers all the unique and important services WeChat offers, and how it has grown to be the dominant player in Chinese apps, almost like an entire iOS of functions in one – from online banking to mini websites to taxi orderng.
Twitter vs Weibo
Twitter hasn’t always been blocked in China. This only came about in 2009, and that’s when its duplicate was created: Weibo. They are extremely similar, however far more personal posts are shared on Wiebo rather than political debates, which Twitter is renowned for!
Google vs Baidu
With over 1 billion active monthly users, one would think Google is known and utilised on a global basis. However, censorship in China means Google is blocked. Instead, the Chinese use Baidu. Baidu is the market leader in the search engine category in China, and is gaining momentum continuously. Whilst it is extremely similar to Google, it is limited due to heavy regulation by the government.
Youtube vs Youku
Youku is the Youtube replica for the Chinese market. Similarly, individuals can upload their own videos. However, following on from the previous replacement platforms we have discussed, they are closely monitored by the government. There are strict regulations and anything that is seen as attacking the Chinese Communist Party will be removed.
Whilst these platforms are operating in an entirely different and regulated market to what western countries know, they are still promoting innovation and have an extremely wide reach within China. This proves the importance in understanding how these platforms work.