In Beijing, the key topic of discussions and debate at the Global Mobile Internet Conference was social networks and media. Although there is a move towards stricter control and stiff competition in the social media industry which is dominated by local companies, global social networks are looking to enter the Chinese homes.
Over 600 million Chinese using internet and half of them logging into social media, it is about the population of about 5 European countries. In China, Weibo (like Twitter) and WeChat (WhatsApp and Facebook) are the social networking services as Facebook is not authorized yet. Even then, it has over 820,000 users. Though most of the international social media companies are not available in China, a few of them are making inroads in the intensely competitive market. LinkedIn is one of the few companies that has launched a Chinese language service and has over 4 million users.
President of LinkedIn China, Derek Shen said that most of the top management has Japanese and Americans globally but there aren’t many Chinese. This is because China still doesn’t have a good platform to connect the professionals internationally. Now the reach of LinkedIn China is expanding through Chinese social media. Chinese advertise on social networks to connect with oversees suppliers, which has been successful. Making inroads into the tightly controlled social media, foreign social networks will need to adapt to cultural, language and regulatory barriers.