Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why Twitter and Facebook are too late in China - Sam Flemming

Sam Flemming
+Sam Flemming 
Western social media like Twitter and Facebook might get their first official inroads into China at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, but the market has already been taken by giant and influential domestic players, tells internet watcher Sam Flemming at Reuters.

Reuters:
Access to Facebook and Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009, but will be lifted by the government in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) which is due to launch this weekend, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday - a move that has been popularly dubbed the "Internet Concession". 
But it may be too late for them to repeat their success elsewhere in one of the world's most promising, yet most restricted, Internet markets - where online advertising revenues soared almost 47 percent last year to $12.3 billion. 
"The Chinese social media landscape is among the most developed, sophisticated landscapes out there," said Sam Flemming, chief executive of China-based social media intelligence firm CIC. "These aren't just niche social networks, these are a major part of the Internet in China."...   
Facebook, valued at $118 billion, said in its IPO prospectus last year that its China market share was almost zero, and recent studies say Twitter has no more than 50,000 active users in China. Access to both is limited to people with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that can bypass China's Great Firewall - the colloquial term for Beijing's Internet blocking mechanism. 
"Weibo has similar features to Twitter, but its role in China for the dissemination of news, information and entertainment, that's what's critical," said CIC's Flemming. 
"Weibo is the zeitgeist of China, the water cooler of China."
More at Reuters.

Sam Flemming is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

China Weekly Hangout

While Twitter and Facebook might be getting official access to a small part of China, Chinese internet companies are expanding globally, the +China Weekly Hangout learned on September 5. Should Facebook, Twitter and Google+ worry now Tencent, Baidu, Sina, Alibaba and Xiaomi have plans to expand globally. Not yet, said investor +William Yung, media-expert +Paul Fox and +Tech in Asia editor +Steven Millward. Well, maybe Whatsapp should. Moderation by +Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau.
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