Social Media in Asia Presentations

While Facebook and Twitter might rule in the US and Europe it’s a whole different game in Asia. If you follow Thomas Crampton (Asia-Pacific director of 360 Digital Influence for Ogilvy) then you’ll know he’s often posting insightful presentations about Social Media in Asia. I’ve been bookmarking them for a while and thought I’d share a few of the better ones here with the key takeaways (and other miscellanea).

Social Media in Asia

by Thomas Crampton


  • If Facebook were a country it would be the fourth largest in the world
  • China has over 300 million netizens (larger than the population of the US)
  • Dominant Social Networks: QQ in China, Cyworld in South Korea, Mixi in Japan
  • Dominant Search Engines: Baidu in China (Google has/had 30%), Naver in South Korea, Yahoo in Japan
  • While Facebook makes money from advertising, Asian SNS’s make money from digital goods
  • Asians enjoy creating and sharing content significantly more than people in the US
  • Chinese people have more online friends than offline (real world)

Social Media in China

by Mindy Zhang


  • Government censorship promotes local players who innovate, not just copy
  • 72% of Chinese netizens are urban, but rural base growing (only 12% have degrees)
  • 46% access the internet by mobile phone, 35% in internet cafes
  • Use primarily for 1. entertainment,  2. information & 3. communication
  • Bulletin Board Services (BBS) are very popular, especially for exchanging product info
  • 27% of 120 million+ SNS users login primarily to play games (e.g. Happy Farm)
  • 30% of video content is user-generated while the rest is pirated
  • Chinese users are more engaged in their online lives compared with Americans
  • Viral memes quickly become cultural phenomena through social media
  • Need to understand local netizens and how they differ from other markets

DigitalBeat also has a great review of China’s top four social networks.

Japan Mobile SNS Study

by Alexei Poliakov


  • The Japanese mobile market is highly saturated (89%) with modest growth (4%)
  • Japan leads in 3G with over 95% penetration and most people (85%) have data plans
  • 85% of users access the internet with their mobile – 60% to play games
  • Use primarily for blogging, gaming and messaging
  • Home-grown social networks rule the market (but Twitter / Facebook usage growing)
  • Marketers must target mobiles as the main vehicle for serving ads
  • In Japan read user identity is often hidden behind virtual avatars
  • Premium content and ad sales equally contribute to revenue
  • Japanese SNS’s have been slow to create API’s for their party developers

Clearly, Social Networks and Social Media in Asia is dominated by local players who, although partly inspired by the success of western services, have diversified their offerings to suit local tastes and interests. Outsiders will find it hard to compete in this space but may utilize the tools they offer as a platform for targeting their users. Detailed research will be necessary to understand the incentives for participation and engagement to gain and maintain trust. Mobile and gaming are also big factors here with a greater emphasis on having fun and the form factor content is consumed on playing a major role in its consumption.

David avatar

2 responses

  1. JLaughlin avatar

    I am moving to Shanghai in a few months, and just learned that Facebook is blocked in China. I was hoping to stay connected to family and friends via the social media venue. Is there any way around the great firewall. I have heard about Tor, but it sounds like that may be blocked now too. Any ideas?

    1. Check this post out – – the best solutions I’ve found are Witopia and 12vpn.


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