Thursday, June 13, 2013

Social media in China

A graduate class was recently impressed by a student's demo of Weibo, the Chinese social media app.  It did amazing things, and did them very well.

China has more Internet users than any country in the world (over 500 million, compared to 245 million in the USA), although in percentage terms, the US leads China in ratio of users to population (74% vs. 38%).  And, like most places, in China in 2012 Internet searches on handheld devices surpassed PC searches, according to Mary Meeker's Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers 2013 report on Internet use.

While this may or may not surprise you, it is important to note that in China, as in many developing markets, the use of social media is far higher than in developed nations.  A recent McKinsey report on social media in China suggests that 91% of Chinese participants in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities report visiting a social media site the past 6 months, compared with 67% in the US and only 70% in super-connected South Korea!  And, the Chinese are twice as likely as US participants to reveal 'most everything' or 'nearly everything' on-line, according to the KPCB report mentioned above.

From a business point of view, McKinsey and Co say this is particularly important because social influence and impressions strongly guide consumer behaviour in China.  For more on the future of economic development in China, see another McKinsey special series here.

No comments: