Facebook and Twitter are popular ways for travelers to share their locations, pictures, and adventures with their social media networks. Chinese tourists are no different. In fact, Chinese tourists are 50% more likely to post a photo or tweet an experience than their western counterparts. The main difference though, is that it’s not happening on Facebook or Twitter; it’s happening across China’s now global Chinese social media channels.
In China’s developing online environment, Chinese social media has an unusually influential role and high rate of engagement with netizens. This is due to China’s history, censorship laws, and the ease at which people can now access the Internet with mobile technology. Chinese Internet users tend to trust social media content more than their western counterparts, not only recommendations from friends and family in their social networks, but also brands who are actively engaged on social media.
KAWO took a look at the top international hotel brands and discovered that less than half the top hotel groups were not present on Chinese social media. But just by conducting a basic search of these hotels, KAWO was able to see thousands of travelers sharing their many hotel experiences regardless of whether or not the hotel groups had an official account. For example, MGM Resorts International is the second largest gaming and hospitality company in the world by revenue, but they have no official Chinese accounts for any of their famous properties around the world. However, many of their iconic hotels are hot topics that Chinese tourists love sharing online, posting comments and pictures of everything from the food:
“Oh Buffet of Bellagio, I am coming, haha, Crab!!!”
To the activities they anticipate doing: “I hope I have a chance to watch a boxing game at the MGM Grand.”
To the building itself: “I am at 18th floor of Vdara, the room is so great and I love the swimming pool!”
And where is all this happening? There are almost 600 million Chinese users online – that’s twice the population of users in the US – and the networks below are the leading social media platforms:
1. Sina Weibo: With over 500 million registered users, Sina Weibo is currently the leading platform for Chinese netizens to connect with their favorite celebrities, friends and brands. Mostly popular in Tier 1 and 2 cities, Sina’s network ensures very high engagement amongst trendsetters.
2. Tencent Weibo: Tencent Weibo is also a very popular tool Chinese Netizens use to communicate. While it is not as mainstream as Sina’s version, it has deep penetration amongst China’s fast growing Tier 3 and 4 cities. Both Sina and Tencent are often compared to Twitter, but they have additional features, like the ability to post personal messages and updates, upload photos and videos.
3. RenRen: Often erroneously referred to as the “Chinese Facebook” because of its similar design, RenRen is the number one social network for students and teens in China. It currently counts over 160 million registered users.
4. WeChat: Known as “Weixin” in China, WeChat is the nation’s most popular instant messaging and voice multimedia service. With almost 300 million registered users, it is fast becoming the standard for how users connect directly with their peers. Interestingly, WeChat is growing in popularity outside China as well, a reported 100 million users.
So if you’re a popular destination, hotel, or even airline, it’s not a question of whether or not you should get on Chinese social media. The fact is, you’re already on there. It’s important to have an official presence on Chinese social media to guide how your brand is perceived and to have a place where you can communicate directly to consumers in a variety of ways. If you’d like to discover if your brand is popular, talked about or even exists across Chinese social media, KAWO is giving away a FREE customized report to each brand that signs up.
This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor, KAWO.