Social Media Involvement Greater in China than U.S.

China much more engaged, both for personal use and with brands

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Due to the large population discrepancy, it probably won’t surprise anyone that China has more broadband users that the United States.  What might surprise you is just how much more active the Chinese are online, especially when it comes to engagement with social media.

An interesting study by Netpop Research entitled Social Face-Off : A Comparison of U.S. and China Social Media Use finds that people in China are more involved in every type of social media activity of which they studied.  First, some general facts about the two internet communities: of the broadband users age 13 and above, the Chinese have a much younger, more educated internet population than the U.S.  They also spend more time online per weekday.

Not only is China spending more time online, but while they are online they are interacting with social media at a much greater rate than the U.S.  When Netpop measured the “contribution” percentage in each country, they found that 93% of the 411 million Chinese broadband users contribute to social media compared to only 73% of the U.S.’s 169 million broadband users.  “Contributors” are people involved in one or more activity such as posting to a social network site, posting to a blog, updating their location, uploading videos and much more.

People who can be described as “heavy contributors” (engaging in 6+ social media activities) are 2 out of every 5 in China.  Only 1 out of 10 can be described this way in the U.S.

Here’s the really interesting part – China completely dominated the U.S. in participation in every social media activity except “posting to social network sites,” which they only lead by 2%.  Americans love their Facebook, and our status-update-happy culture is the only thing that kept this statistic close, I assume.

One of the major discrepancies is the amount of micro-blogging happening in each country.  Netpop points out that Twitter is the only major micro-blog in the U.S., while the Chinese regularly use sites like Fanfou, QQ Micro-blog and Souhu Micro-blog along with Twitter.  Really, the only crossover in the sites considered in this study are Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa ans YouTube.

The find that would be most interesting to brands and advertisers involves relative amounts of “opt-ins” to connect with brands via social media channels.  In China, apparently 92% of its broadband users choose to connect to brands via social media.  Only 72% choose to in America.

Americans are about as likely to sign up for an emailing list, but the Chinese are much more likely to connect in other ways like becoming a fan on Facebook and following on a micro-blog – which looks to be the largest way that brands connect to the people of China.

What accounts for this giant discrepancy in social media connection between the two countries?  Netpop says that more Chinese have the “go-getter” personality and that they see social media as a way to get-ahead:

The data also underscore how much larger and more active Chinese netizens are than their American counterparts. True, Chinese Internet users are younger in age, but demographics alone cannot explain such differences. Psychographics also provide clues. In the United States, we find ambition – or the desire to “get ahead” – motivating social media use in a small and discrete segment known as the “Go‐Getters.” By contrast, Go‐Getter qualities are expressed in two of the three Chinese segments. Chinese netizens, in other words, are more likely to use social networking to get‐ahead, perhaps reflecting a more eager and opportunistic outlook in general.


Social Media Involvement Greater in China than U.S.
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  • http://www.bloggerincorporated.com/blogging-certification Online Blogging Certification

    I’m curious to know is that because they are “go-getters” or because they have less freedom in business and speech, and the internet provides a way of doing so there(kinda).

    I just find it hard to believe go-getters spend all day on the internet following branded blogs and multiple micro blogs.

  • http://awesomize.me/eliasshams Elias Shams

    It’s no brainer to see that social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot space to enter into a new category. There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their online connections.

    A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs. Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies

    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social networking sites pop up, how do you manage your brand across all these channels? Maybe more importantly, which one of these sites should you select as the one that will help you best reach your target audience? The proliferation of the social media avenues is becoming overwhelming.

    This glut of information reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web. That’s when a better generation of search engines – at first the Yahoo! and then Google – entered the market and helped us find the most relevant information by just typing simple keywords in their search box. If you had asked before Google launched, if there was a need for another search engine – most would have said no, we already have those….

    Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace, Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying your social media strategy? How do you know which one is the right channel to let your fans and followers to find you, your products, and services? Most importantly, who is Joe Smith that is recommending that person, that company, that product?

    I hope my awesomize.me can accomplish such a mission. The site is not another social networking platform. Yet the portal to all your existing social media channels. The platform helps you, your fans, your potential clients to make an intelligent decision as to which company to connect to or follow via which social media channels and why? It’s free!

    CEO & Founder

  • http://secondtense.com Ron T Blechner

    According to this study, 46% of Americans “send / forward emails”.

    According to PEW, 2008:
    76% of Americans have at least 1 email address.
    276.9 million (out of approx 310 milllion) Americans used email… in August 2009 alone.

    Conclusion: This study’s data is suspect and warrants closer inspection.

  • Amanda


    Social Media in China: The Same, but Different
    by Thomas Crampton in 2011
    (Social Media in China and across Asia)


  • Amanda



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