Social Media Marketing in China – A Primer

social media marketing in china
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    With over 800 million internet users, China is the world’s largest social media market. While Facebook and Instagram rule the social media landscape in the west, social media marketing in China has completely different players.

    Each day the average netizen spends 5hrs 50mins online, of which about 3hrs 10mins of that time is on a mobile device and 2hrs 12mins using social media.

    But why should you even care about that?

    According to a report by Accenture, 70% of surveyed China’s Gen Z respondents say they prefer to buy products directly via social media. 

    With Social commerce in China estimated to reach  2,419.4 billion yuan in 2022, it’s clear social media has become an integral part of the customer purchase journey.

    In this blog post, we’ll look at the top social media platforms in China, why global brands are engaging there and how you can get started on these channels.

    Let’s dig in!

    Top Social Media Channels in China


    Often described as a super app, WeChat boasts monthly active users of more than 1 billion.

    That is over 3x as many active users as Pinterest!

    The app is used for a variety of functions like chatting, social media, online shopping, payments, video calls to name a few. 

    Moreover, WeChat is currently responsible for 34% of mobile internet traffic in China. Not surprising considering the various functions of the app.

    Apart from the conversations screen, the app also boasts of a social feed which contains content called ‘moments’ shared by friends.

    social media marketing in china - WeChat

    How brands are using WeChat 

    WeChat is often one of the first choices of brands advertising in China. The app offers plenty of ways to reach your target audience. Top ways include:

    1. Create a WeChat Official account and link to your store
    2. Create a WeChat mini program
    3. Use Moments Ads 
    4. Use Article Banner Ads
    5. Create Mini Program Ads
    6. Use Account Promotion

    For more details on each of these channels, read our guide on WeChat advertising.


    Douyin, also known as TikTok, has been all the rage in the last couple of month. In May 2020, the app owned by ByteDance reported a tenfold increase in its in-app revenue. The short video app generated 315 million downloads globally in the first quarter of 2020.

    However, what makes Douyin different from Tiktok is that you can sell on it. In 2018, the platform took a major step towards e-commerce by introducing Douyin store.

    social media marketing in china - Douyin

    How brands advertise on Douyin

    Douyin is a great channel to reach young and affluent female users. Ads on Douyin also allow you to use age and state-level geo-targeting. The top ways to advertise on Douyin are:

    1. Feed ads
    2. Sticker ads
    3. Music ads
    4. KOL (influencer) partnerships


    One of the most popular social media shopping website in China at the moment, Xiaohongshu or Little Red Book is popular among young consumers looking to find out trending products.

    As of July 2019, the platform had approximately 300 million users and 85 million monthly active users. Chinese consumers use Xiaohongshu to post product reviews and tips that other users can save – like Pinterest.

    social media marketing in china - Xiaohongshu

    How brands advertise on Xiaohongshu

    Xiaohongshu presents an amazing opportunity for global brands looking to build their online presence in China. The top ways to advertise or sell on Xiaohongshu are:

    1. Official account
    2. In-app ads
    3. KOL (influencer) partnership

    Looking to get started and succeed with Xiaohongshu? has helped several leading brands make their presence felt and generate sales on the platform.

    Sina Weibo

    Known as the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo is one of the more open social networks in China. Users can share text, images and videos with their networks and use it to keep up with current events.

    The platform also makes it easy to share content with others, making it a hit with brands looking to build interest around their products.

    social media marketing in china - weibo

    How brands advertise on Weibo

    Weibo as a channel is dominated by influencers since their number of followers on the channels is far more than the official accounts of most brands. Some of the top ways of advertising on Weibo are:

    1. Display ads
    2. Search Promotion
    3. Fans Headline
    4. Fans Tunnel

    For more details, read our blog post on creating your Weibo marketing strategy.

    Tencent QQ

    With 731 million monthly active users, Tencent QQ is one of the most popular instant messaging platform in China. Though it has been around since 2009, it’s still a popular social media platform in China.

    social media marketing in china - tencent qq

    How brands advertise on Tencent QQ

    QQ has quite a few advertising options. The platform also uses an intelligent match algorithm that allows brands to optimize their campaigns. The top ways to advertise on Tencent QQ are:

    1. Brand Promotion
    2. App Promotion
    3. Product Promotion
    4. Store advertising

    Wrapping up

    Several global brands are waking up to the power of social media marketing in China. Whether it’s Prada’s Valentine’s Day campaign on WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin or Louis Vuitton’s first-ever digital fashion show ‘re-see’, brands are making massive sales by investing in China’s social media platforms.

    Advertising in China doesn’t have to be a complex puzzle. Sign up for a free account, the only platform that allows you to advertise on top social media channels in China from one place.

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