Chinese Use Social Media Way More Than Americans

While China's social networking sites of choice may be Youku, Tudou, and Sina Micro-blog, rather than Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, social media use is more prevalent among a much larger population base.

While China’s social networking sites of choice may be Youku, Tudou, and Sina Micro-blog — but not Facebook — social media has a far greater penetration rate among an obviously larger population.

So says Netpop Research in a new report called “Social Face-Off: A Comparison of U.S. and China Social Media Use.”

The study found that while the United States totals 169 million broadband users age 13 and up, that figure pales in comparison to China’s 411 million, who spend an average of 4.8 hours per weekday online, compared with 4.2 for their American counterparts.

Netpop added that 93 percent of Chinese broadband users 13 and up contribute online, versus 73 percent of U.S. users, resulting in totals of 382 million and 123 million, respectively.

Chinese web users were also more likely to participate in every social media activity studied by Netpop:

  • Sending and forwarding emails (62 percent for China, versus 46 percent for the U.S.)
  • Posting to social networking sites (41/39)
  • Uploading photos (57/38)
  • Rating or reviewing products (50/27)
  • Uploading video (27/13)
  • Tagging articles, photos, or videos (28/12)
  • Posting to blogs or forums (47/12)
  • Updating locations (17/12)
  • Posting to a microblog (42/10)
  • Sharing files via a P2P network (35/7)
  • Publishing a blog (43/6)
  • Uploading audio (21/6)
  • Publishing a website (22/6)
  • Living in a virtual world (14/3)
  • Posting to a wiki (15/2)
  • Uploading podcasts (23/2)

A total of 90 percent of Chinese Internet users said they accessed social networking sites in the past 30 days, compared with 81 percent in the United States. And the numbers titled in favor of China in every other category, as well:

  • Photo, video, and audio sharing (93/55)
  • Local services and commerce (83/49)
  • Forums and email groups (85/21)
  • Microblogs (83/17)
  • Blogs (78/13), and
  • Location-based services (64/10).

Whether there’s any truth to recent rumors about a possible partnership with China’s leading search engine Baidu, clearly Facebook has good reason to keep eyeing opportunities in the country. China’s government has blocked access to the U.S. social network since 2009.

Readers, what could Facebook do to re-enter the Chinese social media market successfully?