China is the world's largest social network market. Its market composition varies considerably from the rest of the world. Due to the Great Firewall of China, as the Chinese government’s internet censorship project is commonly called, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, the leading international social-media players, are all blocked in China. However, China’s social media landscape is not incomparable with its western counterparts. Tencent’s Qzone, the most valuable social media brand in China as of 2013, is a combination of Facebook and Tumblr, where users share photos, leave messages and blog.
Micro blogging services Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo ranked second and third in the most valuable social network brand ranking in 2013. The initial idea of micro blogging is similar to Twitter. Users are allowed to use 140 Chinese characters in one post. As one Chinese character may transport more content than a single English character, Weibo allows for more depth than Twitter. In relation, micro blogging services were most used for the acquisition of social news and information about interesting people such as entertainers or commentators. Seeing its potential for advertising and marketing, some forty percent of the top 500 Chinese companies had their own micro blogging accounts by 2012.
Another commonly used social media form in China is instant messaging. As of 2014, the penetration rate of instant messaging services in China had ranged much higher than that of other social networks. At that time, the most popular instant messengers in China were QQ and WeChat. Both are operated by Chinese internet giant Tencent. In addition to their already existing aptitude for mobile devices, recent instant messenger versions have integrated vital social network properties such as sharing pictures, raising once more the future of social media platforms.
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