Popular applications such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are interestingly absent from mainland China where censorship laws keep them at bay. In a world without these commonly used programs, what are the alternatives that take their place in modern day China? Listed below are the top five social media sites that are prevalent among Chinese citizens.
WeChat is a mobile app and has been dubbed China’s version of Facebook and Messenger. Originally meant to serve as a messaging app, WeChat has evolved into something far more tremendous for its users. Consumers can now use the app to pay for bills, schedule doctor appointments, book taxi rides, order movie tickets, and more. The app also serves as a social media platform, is used by companies for promotional services, and resembles the Snapchat app wherein users can post Moments on their walls for their friends to see.
Referred as China’s version of Facebook, the app launched in 2005 gaining major popularity due to Facebook’s censorship by the Chinese government. So many users were drawn to the app because it resembled the original Facebook app in so many ways, such as the color scheme, logos, and design which led people to speculate whether or not there was an affiliation between the two companies. The app aims to stay relevant in today’s quick paced mobile age. Originally meant to “reconnect old friends”, the app now targets and caters to college students who want to keep in touch.
Since the “Chinese version of Facebook” has already been covered, it’s time to unveil “China’s version of Twitter”, Weibo. Seeing as how Twitter is one of the sites that has been blocked off due to China’s censorship of the media, Weibo has become the people’s alternative. The app is the most popular blogging platform in the country. Essentially, Weibo is structured similarly to Twitter, but the difference in the Chinese and English language caused this app to be used differently. In other areas of the world, 140 characters would be far too few to express oneself, encouraging users to drop more one-liners to express themselves. However, in Chinese, 140 characters can hold a lot more content, so people tend to use this as a platform for microblogging. It was on this media site where a video regarding the Rape of Nanking was uploaded and sparked heated conversations between both countries. The app can also be used to follow celebrities, influencers, and other individuals. Weibo has more than twice the amount of users Twitter has, as its used by over 22% percent of the Chinese Population. The app is used by many Chinese celebrities, but some global celebrities have even jumped on the app in order to tap into their Chinese fan bases.
Originally two competing companies, Youku and Tudou have decided to merge to become YoukuTudou. The app itself is quite similar to YouTube, as it hosts videos for users by users, but contains more professionally created content than it does self-produced content. YoukuTudou is mainly used to download or stream television series and movies. A majority of the videos on YoukuTudou are from foreign sources, like Japanese and American movies that have Mandarin subtitles. The app itself is known as the second largest video site in the world, after its western counterpart, YouTube.
Dianping is an app that allows its users to rate and review established businesses, mainly for reviewing restaurants. One popular feature includes allowing users to see a restaurant’s most popular dish. In Chinese culture, this is very important for their consumers as it is normal for Chinese restaurants to have over 100 dishes on their menus. They also have a feature that ranks restaurants and local establishments based on their popularity, as well as offers discounts. The app has often been called the “Chinese version of Yelp” as they have many of the same features and functions, though admittedly, DIanping has a few more.