By way of the Smart Blog on Social Media comes a rundown of the absolutely staggering numbers in the Chinese social media universe:
384 million Internet users in China, 75% of whom are under 34.
221 million bloggers.
222 million creators of online video.
272 million instant messaging users.
108 million online shoppers.
265 million online gamers.
321 million users who download music.
40% of Chinese Web users are creators, compared with 21% of Americans.
China's virtual goods were a $5 billion market last year, five times the U.S. Virtual currency is so ubiquitous that it's actually taxed in China.
The largest Internet service portal is Tencent, with 1 billion accounts (485 million active users). In 2009, its revenues surpassed $1.5 billion, 90% of which came from digital goods and games and 10% from ads. Tencent is the most important Internet company in China and the third largest in world, after Google and Microsoft.
Tencent's social network Qzone has 310 million users. Their IM service, QQ, has 50 million concurrent users.
China's answer to Facebook, Renren has 200 million users, 55 million of whom are mobile.
Another popular social network, Kaixin001 has 75 million users
51.com has 160 million users
Zhenai, the largest online dating site in the world, has 22 million accounts. Matches are made via 350 dating counselors who get direct feedback that improves users' dating and success rates. At $450-600/month, the service is considered very valuable.
How social networking happens in China
221 million people have blogs, largely in a diary-style.
176 million Chinese connect via social networking system (SNS) with their "real" friends and online networks.
117 million connect anonymously via bulletin board system (BBS). These interactive online message boards are the heart of social media in China. They're where people go to find topic-based communities and where consumers talk about products and services.
The sheer enormity of the numbers doesn't really shock me -- after all, as one panelist at the SXSW event said, "Everything that happens in the West is happening on steroids in China." However, I found it extremely interesting (and somewhat counterintuitive) that, by any conceivable metric, the Chinese population is more active and engaged online than that of the United States.