Social media use stronger in China than US (Netpop)

2 May 2011 8 h 59 min 3 comments

Comparison of social media use in U.S. and China show startling differences and similarities, but chinese involvement appears greater than US. Thats the main result of a new report which has been released by Netpop. 

“Social Face-Off” – investigates social media trends in the United States and China.

Findings reveal Chinese “Contributors” to be a much larger and more active group of social media users who:
• Use an average of 11 social media sites, while Americans only use 3
• Outnumber Americans by a ratio of 3-to-1
• Do twice the number of online social activities regularly

At the same time, social “Contributors” in the U.S.:
• Are more satisfied with (and loyal to) social brands
• Are more concerned about the privacy/safety of their personal information on social sites

Alsmost 2 500 people interviewed

Research firm Netpop polled 1,253 Americans and 1,221 Chinese consumers, and found habits in the two countries differed substantially. 93% of China’s netizens undertake Web 2.0 pastimes like social networking, utilising “virtual worlds”, blogging and uploading photos, declining to 73% in the US. One main reason for this difference could be that the average age of individuals pursuing such tasks stands at 28.1 years old in the Asian economy, and 39.1 years old in the Western market.

See the netpop demo graph below:

According to netpop report: “Respondents in both geographies spent over four hours using the net on a typical weekday, but 40% of China’s connected community regularly involve themselves in six or more Web 2.0 categories, nearly four times the US total. The United States is more settled in its social media usage, while the Chinese are actively adopting, experimenting, and exchanging across multiple channels. Innovations in social media platforms have traditionally emanated from the United States, but that could change based on the energy and interest among China’s netizens to share online.”

“China’s commercial and cultural influence is growing and social media play a major role in that exchange, particularly among younger generations” says Cate Riegner, VP of Netpop Research. “China gets a lot of its ideas from the West, and the West from China. Social networking sites like Friendster and Facebook started in the U.S., but group-buying behaviors originated in China. Of course, China is also a huge market and Western brands recognize the importance of being there.”

Power of microblogs

A whopping 92% of all those online in China will engage with social media in some way, in contrast to 72% in America. A sizeable 42% of Chinese netizens are posting to microblogs – clones such as Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, or the new Baidu Talk – during their time online. That contrasts to only 10% of Americans posting to a microblog – well, Twitter, which is the only option there. The greater online social media engagement in China is particluraly strong for email and product reviwing.

Comparisons between areas of online engagement in the two countries apper in the Netpop graph below:

The strongest social platforms

A 90% majority of China’s audience, and 81% of US respondents, had logged on to a social network during this period, and 93% of Chinese consumers accessed content-sharing sites, compared with 55% in the US.

. In the USA, Facebook achieved a monthly penetration of 73%, beating YouTube‘s 49% and Craigslist’s 34%, double the score of MySpace, in fourth on this metric.

. In China, video platforms Youku and Tudou each delivered over 60%, Sina Weibo had 54%, Renren lodged 52%, and four other portals recorded more than 40%.

About the Netpop report

The Netpop report includes 24 slides that compare the U.S. and China on:
• Size and demographic profile of social media users
• Social media activities and trends from 2009 to 2011
• Psychographic segmentation
• Leading social media sites, with average sites used
• Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of leading social brands in four categories
• Concerns about privacy/safety of personal information
• Social marketing or “opting-in” to connect with brands via social channels

The report reveals striking similarities and differences between the two largest Internet populations and is available for free to all that register at

About Netpop Research
Netpop Research, LLC is a San Francisco-based strategic consumer insights firm that specializes in
online media, digital entertainment and user-generated content trends. Since 1997, Netpop has offered
research products and services focused on the online consumer, establishing its unique domain
expertise and creating industry-accepted metrics for understanding the digital consumer. Netpop
Research is the creator of the Netpop tracking study of Internet usage among broadband consumers in
the United States and China.

SOURCE: Netpop (27/04/2011)


. “Chinese Web Users Love Social Media – and that’s Great News for Brands” (Penn Olson, 2/05/2011)

. “China tops US on Web 2.0″ (Warc, 2/05/2011)

. “Social Media Involvement Greater in China than U.S.” (WebproNews, 2/05/2011)


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