Recently we posted some statistics for social networking in China that showed some staggering numbers demanding musicians not overlook the potential of these resources.
Let’s look at some of the top sites used in China for social networking.
China’s Twitter equivalent, Sina got smart after the first 2 Twitter knock offs got shut down and automatically censors ‘micro blogs’. It has now outdone Twitter only 6 momths after launching with over a million users.
Youku.com is China’s leading Internet video website with 30 million unique viewers a day, and 200 million a month according to Nielsen and iResearch. (That’s right, per day!)
Striving to be more than just a Chinese youtube clone, Youku also features professionally produced content.
Check out Pro Soul artist Elika Mahony on youku.
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. The numbers are overwhelming for some marketers – a scale that is hard to imagine.
Another interesting statistic is that 40% of Chinese Web users are creators, compared with 21% of Americans, this is far too great of a market to ignore, marketers and corporations are finding creative ways to circumvent any restrictions when it comes to music marketing.
According to Forbes’ Russell Flannery ~ China Wealth, Aug. 10 2010 article Hard Pickin’ Into China’s Growing Music Industry, Mr. Flannery acknowledges that “China is a growing yet difficult market for the music industry.” He references Abigail Washburn a 30-year-old Nashville folk singer and banjo player, who’s toured with Steve Martin’s bluegrass band and enjoyed successful albums and tours on her own. With some success in the US, the artist now calls China home, and has felt the music industry in China to be welcoming but challenging at times. But she says that “In some ways, it feels like Beijing and Shanghai are ahead of the States, because they’ve actually skipped over CDs and record labels. They just do direct to consumer sales (artist to fans), which is where it needs to go in the U.S.”
Flannery’s interview with Abigail Washburn, supports the 176 million Chinese connecting via social networking system (SNS) with their “real” friends and online networks is where consumers talk about products, services and music.
These interactive online message boards are the heart of social media in China, representing a vibrant online market.
In future, Pro Soul plan on exploring more about how these social networking resources can be used effectively for promoting music virally, a significantly different approach to how it is done in the west.
We also plan to look at the part mobile phones play in this, a huge part of social culture in Asia.