China: Microblogs Overtake Social Networks
Microblogs Overtake Social Networks in China
Social network usage dips; new regulations may dampen 2012 growth
Fittingly for the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Rabbit, microblog users in China multiplied in 2011. So fruitful were they, in fact, their numbers surpassed those of the country’s social network users.
The “29th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China,” released in January 2012 by state-supported researcher The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), reported there were 513.1 million internet users, 249.9 million microblog (aka “weibo”) users and 244.2 million social network site users in the country in December 2011.
During the year, microblog users increased 296%, whereas social network user growth lagged slightly behind that of general internet users, resulting in a drop in total penetration.
Don’t expect record increases during 2012, however. Regulators are rolling out real-name registration requirements to tighten control over popular social media services, which will likely deter new (and multiple) signups.