• Breakthrough Media Team

The 5 Most Popular Social Media Apps in China (2019) - Breakthrough Media

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

5 top social media apps in China, right now

Social media in China now is rampantly popular, with roughly 802 million (57.7%) Chinese internet users, with a whopping 98% doing so on their phones. But unlike our normal social media of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, the ‘Great Firewall of China’ has made it so that a parallel digital network has been formed, with its own users, guidelines, and preferences; making it unique among social media landscapes, especially in terms of how to use these tools and take advantage of it for your brand.

Here, we’re gong to take a look at the 5 top social media apps running in China right now, and briefly cover ways that brands can use it to their advantage.


1. WeChat


No Chinese social media list can start without WeChat to head the pack. First started as a small messaging service, it has become a full-fledged social media platform with roughly 1.06 billion users worldwide. Users on average spend more than 66 minutes on WeChat daily, with 60% opening the app more than 10 times throughout the day.

A notable feature of WeChat is its ability to also act as a digital wallet, linking your app to services like Alipay to make micro-transactions that much easier; such as hailing a cab, ordering food, or booking movie tickets. This has taken China by storm, allowing various uniquely China applications to burst forth, like use of the app’s Red Packet function during the Lunar New Year.

There are a few ways that marketers and brands can use WeChat for growth. The two that stick out are signing up for an official account (WeChat OA), which lets you send a personal service of various news and promotions right to their phone; and making engaging content to increase your image and consumer engagement, to be shared on virally. (Tip: short videos are said to be the most effective form of content to be shared on WeChat.)


2. Weibo



Weibo is China’s Twitter, with over 650 million accounts, 465 million active users, and 203 million daily users. (Note that Twitter, in contrast, only has about 326 million monthly active users globally!) Users use Weibo as a place to post, like, and share content they find engaging; thus, it’s also the perfect place to for influencers and key-opinion leaders to get updated on the current trends and build their following, to try to become a brand ambassador.

In particular, live streaming has become a major part of Weibo’s success, letting influencers better engage with followers by using various product and service promotions. Another is Weibo Stories, which lets people upload a mixture of images and text, to better create a story of their day.

It is also worth noting that 82% of Weibo uses actually shop online, using services like Alipay linked to their accounts. For brands, a good thing Weibo can let you do is link your posts to various products and stores. This makes it such that viewers of the said product can buy it with just a click; making setting up a store and account a good way to drive online revenue.


3. XiaoHongShu


With a net sales of nearly CN¥ 10 billion, XiaoHongShu, or Little Red Book, it an application revolving on one thing: shopping. It lets users post product reviews, make content, leave travel tips, and start discussions on the product. Likewise, there is a platform for micro-transactions so you never have to leave the app.

This platform, geared towards women between 18 to 35 looking for luxury goods, prides itself on offering trusted various product reviews and tips for the up-and-coming young consumers, with its in-depth content resonating with many looking to buy, buy, buy.

As XiaoHongShu is a hotbed for word-of-mouth advertising, using influencers as the medium. Thus, brands should look for various key opinion leaders to make content and comment on their products, to drive sales for them and their product!


4. QQ



Probably the oldest on the list, QQ first started out in 1999 as a simple instant messenger, using a network paging real-time communication service. Now, while retaining its function, QQ has changed to suit the times. Now, it can also join groups of friends, share various disappearing videos, play online games, stream music, get a Tinder-like date, and receive large files.

While old, QQ’s demographics actually trend towards the young; who have a weak power of consumption and unsophisticated, but also have a strong untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. Furthermore, their demographics are more likely to try new goods, particularly in entertainment or up-and-coming fashions. Thus, this area is where brands can preemptively engage with and learn about the next generation; what they like, hate, and what might trend in the future.


5. Douyin


Douyin is the raising star of this list, ever since its initial opening in September 2016. It is a mini-form video app, allowing users to share increasingly fashionable and modish short-form videos, with various special effects and stickers; all of which are ideal for viral sharing and popularity.


Douyin has attracted 500 million global users by mid 2018, and are particularly popular with the ‘Gen Z’ users, their content laden with funny memes or pop culture references. Brands should thus look to Douyin for up-to-date, irreverent, punchy clips, to better reach China’s ‘Gen Z’ consumers, using Douyin’s ‘Challenges’ themed hashtags to have contests that integrates their campaign’s message, which thus makes an avenue for easy branded content.





There are 5 up-and-coming apps in China today. What do you think? Don’t like the list? Comment below on what you think should be in the top 5 apps.


Don’t know where to start to get your brand into the Chinese market? Try this list of 3 ways Western brands have failed in getting to the Chinese market. (link here!)


If you need more help, reach out to us at Breakthrough Media! We specialise in bringing Australian companies to the broader Chinese market. We’ll help you find the best marketing/PR solution to suit your brand and needs.

  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle

© Breakthrough Media 2019