China’s Social Media: Weibo and Renren

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Since July 2009, both Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in China. In their absence, there has been a huge battle between the domestic players in the social networking segment. There is no clear winner yet, but Weibo and Renren are leading the pack.

Chinese answer to Facebook and Twitter

Sina Weibo, the closest equivalent of Twitter, builds a strong relationship between the users and high quality content. Some people even go so far as to say that Weibo is more of a social media site than a social networking site. Users on this site follow celebrities and opinion leaders to stay abreast of happenings in certain sectors.

weibo and twitter

Due to this level of awareness, Weibo manages to achieve 87% of the market share in terms of user time in China in slightly more than a year. Weibo gives its users the freedom to share their criticisms and exercise their freedom of speech. For example, a chain of outraged citizens after the train collision in Wenzhou, China in July 2011 said, “When a country is corrupt to the point that a single lightning strike can cause a train crash, the passing of a truck can collapse a bridge, and drinking a few bags of milk powder can cause kidney stones, none of us are exempted.”

Regardless of how many freedom Weibo gives, the company still works very closely with the regulators. It is more than capable of stopping certain users from logging online and blogging certain posts that they seem inappropriate.


Renren, the largest registered social networking site in China since 2010, went public on NASDAQ in 2011. Renren is considered to be similar to its global counterpart, Facebook, but a lot of people argue that it is hardly the case.


The site’s target customers are campus students, which is successful in the short run but eventually these users stop using their accounts once they are working. As the competition in the domestic market intensifies, Renren is losing a chunk of its on campus users to Weibo as well as to Tencent, another social networking giant in China.


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By G+ Author: Erin Washington.

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