Corporate Eye

Social Networking in China Grows Exponentially Among Specific Consumer Segments

Take a look at the chart from eMarketer that shows the growth of social networking users in China since 2009 and projected through 2015.  It seems like every business is focusing on expanding into China with such a huge number of consumers finally accessing more of the products and services from outside the country’s borders.  Social networking represents a big opportunity to connect with those consumers based on these reported usage trends.

The eMarketer data represents Internet users in China who use social networks via any type of device at least once per month.  In 2009, only 155 million people in China were accessing social networks at least one time each month.  Today, that number is 265 million, and by 2015, 488 million Internet users in China will access a social network at least once per month.  That’s a lot of potential customers who might be interested in learning about your brand.

An interesting fact to consider about social networking in China is that different social networking sites are favored by different consumer segments.  Brands need to find the right social networking destination to connect with the right audience.

eMarketer points out that social networking users in China are very willing to follow brands on social networks, blogs, websites, and so on.  In a study by OgilvyOne Worldwide, social media users in China ranked following and friending brands as the second most popular social media activity that they participate in.  An amazing 87% of social media users in China already follow and friend brands on Twitter.  With such widespread acceptance, it’s unlikely that the willingness to follow brands on social media among the Chinese audience will decrease anytime in the near future.

As with all forms of social media, social networking gives brands and businesses an incredible opportunity to listen to customer conversations, define and meet customer needs, and plan for the future in order to best meet those needs.  There are a lot of people in China who are willing to listen to your brand.  Are you preparing to connect with them?

Image: eMarketer

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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