China’s internet user base grew 6% year-on-year to 668m – a digital population that is social media-obsessed with 659m social users, more than the US and Europe combined, according to a report by We Are Social.
While computers account for most internet usage, mobile is increasingly popular, with 675m unique mobile users, 594m mobile internet users and 574m users accessing social media via their phones, an increase of 15m since this time last year.
For social engagement, Tencent’s QQ instant messaging service continues to reign as China’s most-used social platform, while WeChat is catching QQ up. Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are also popular in spite of being blocked by the ‘Great Firewall of China’.
We Are Social’s report showed that China attracted around 100,000 internet newcomers every day over the past year.
While mobile is in the ascendancy, PC access continues to dominate, with 56% of web pages served to laptops or desktops. But this figure is down 29% year-on-year and the number of web page requests from mobile devices has leapt 136% to 42%.
Almost half China’s population owns a mobile phone, while there are almost 1.3bn mobile subscriptions in the country, suggesting that the average user has two active connections. More Chinese people are expected to upgrade to smartphones in the coming months.
Meanwhile, ecommerce is thriving in China, with nearly one-in-three internet users buying online every month. The country’s consumer ecommerce market was worth more than a quarter of a trillion US dollars for the six months to June 2015.
Simon Kemp, We Are Social’s regional managing partner for Asia and the report’s author, said: China’s Different. It’s obvious that the platforms that dominate in China are markedly different to those that marketers are familiar with elsewhere – even those in their Asian neighbours.
“However, it’s not just the platforms that are different; the ways that Chinese netizens use social channels is also markedly different, and marketers need to carefully adapt their approaches for China’s cultural and societal idiosyncrasies as much as for its technological differences.
“One size does not fit all when it comes to China, and marketers would do well to engage the expertise of a local partner who truly understands the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’.”
A full version of We Are Social’s report is available here.
The report was compiled using sources including GlobalWebIndex data, and public data from CNNIC, Ericsson, GSMA Intelligence, StatCounter and Akamai.