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China Daily Website

Chinese social networks coming up fast

Updated: 2013-12-20 03:57
( Meng Jing)

With the increasing number of Chinese netizens and their growing appetite for online networks, China is taking over that space with three of the country's social networks among the world's largest, said a report from Business Insider, a United States-based business and technology website.

According to the report, Qzone, a social network launched by Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, Sina Weibo, one of China's most popular micro-blogging sites, and WeChat, a mobile chat app from Tencent, ranked third, fourth and 10th, respectively, in the list of the world's largest social networks.

The list, which was released on Tuesday, compared the world's most popular social networks and generated a ranking based on their reported or estimated number of monthly active users.

Facebook Inc ranked first with 1.15 billion monthly active users as of Oct 30, followed by YouTube's 1 billion monthly users. China's Qzone took third place with 712 million total users.

It's twice as large as global social messaging app WhatsApp, and nearly three times as large as Twitter.

"When all of the planet's social networks are compared in a simple list, some surprising facts emerge. Social networks that get a lot of attention, like Twitter and Pinterest, are relatively small.

"And we see the eye-opening size of some China- and Russia-centric social media," said Marcelo Ballve, the editorial director of Business Insider Intelligence.

He added that global messaging apps such as Line and WhatsApp have already achieved significant scale, and so have social video platforms like YouTube and the China-based Youku.

A total of 24 of the world's largest social networks are listed in the Business Insider report, and seven of those are from China.

Apart from the three Chinese social networks in the top 10, Tencent's Weibo, a micro blog service, Youku and Tudou, which are both online video platforms, and Renren, a social networking service, ranked between the 11th and 16th places.

Weibo has about 220 million monthly users, while Renren has 54 million monthly users.

The report also pointed out that the Asia Pacific region has more active social media users than any other region in the world.

The majority of the world's largest social networks were created by tech companies in the US, but they have gradually expanded around the globe. However, the main user base of the seven largest Chinese social networks is still inside China.

The combined monthly active users of the seven-largest social networks in China stand at about 2 billion. Yang Xuebing, an analyst with iResearch Consulting Group, is confident that with the further penetration of the Internet and mobile Internet in China, more Chinese netizens will use social networks to keep in touch with friends and family.

"Communicating with friends and getting news online are seeing increasing demand from Chinese users," Yang said.

"There are nearly 600 million netizens in China, while the number in the United States is about 250 million. I wouldn't be surprised if the rankings of Chinese social networks get higher in the future."

However, even though the market has a promising future, Yang said that social networks need to keep innovating and evolving in the rapidly changing Internet era to remain competitive.

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