Most Useful Chinese Social Media To Promote Your Brand in China

With a population of 1.4 billion citizens and over 1 billion social media users, China is a formidable giant in the world’s market. Western businesses looking to expand their customer base are understandably interested in convincing this huge audience to buy their products and services, but the road to success in China is different from that in the West.

One of the key considerations in modern marketing is social media, but the tried-and-true methods you may be familiar with for sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and so on will not apply to Chinese social media marketing. In this article, we will review the top Chinese social media, as well as how to use Chinese social media for promoting a brand in China, in order to help foreign companies increase their reputation and visibility. 

China’s Social Media Landscape

First off, an important thing to remember is that Western social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, are banned by the government and are inaccessible to Chinese consumers. Thus, you need to learn about Chinese social media platforms if you truly want to grow your brand presence in China. None of these platforms will be a 1-to-1 analog of the Western sites you are used to, but they share some similar features and principles that can help you get started. 

Social media is an important part of everyday life in China — the country has the largest online population in the world, its 1 billion internet users dwarfing the second-largest (India’s 800 million) and the third-largest (USA’s 300 million). Its largest social media platforms can rival even Facebook’s revenue and monthly active users. 

Understanding what Chinese social media platforms your customers spend their time on will help you formulate your marketing strategy, so take a look at the top social media in China.

Chinese social media landscape

What Are the Top Chinese Social Media Platforms

There are many different Chinese social media sites, networking, and e-commerce platforms available, each with its own niches and marketing tools. You will have a better chance of success if you establish your business on the right platform. Here is a list of the top Chinese social media networks and what makes each of them popular amongst netizens.

  1. Wechat
  2. Weibo
  3. Xiaohongshu (little red book)
  4. Douyin (Tiktok)
  5. Kuaishou
  6. Bilibili
  7. Zhihu
  8. Tencent Video

WeChat: China’s Social Media Giant

WeChat has a staggering user base of over 1.26 billion monthly users, with users spending an average of over 70 minutes a day on the app. It is an all-in-one messaging app from Tencent, with games, online shopping, and financial services built-in. 

The Chinese use it for everything from paying bills, making investments, hailing taxis, booking restaurants or flights, shopping, transferring money, and making posts on WeChat Moments (similar to a Facebook timeline). 

With the range of services available within the app, it is no surprise why it has become the most popular social networking platform in the country. If you are looking for a comparison, it can be thought of as a combination of Facebook, Whatsapp, Google News, Google Pay, Tinder, and Pinterest, with the option of adding millions of additional third-party apps called WeChat Mini-Programs to enhance the experience.

Wechat offers varied marketing tools to brands and companies such as:

  • Wechat posts ( that come as an alternative to emailing)
  • Wechat stores
  • Wechat mini-programs
  • Wechat H5 brochures
  • Wechat game
  • Wechat CRM
  • Loyalty programs
  • Customer relationship management

Sina Weibo: China’s Twitter

Weibo is a micro-blogging site labeled as China’s Twitter due to their similar character limits, although both sites have since removed these limits. It is similarly used for viewing information and trending content, discussing breaking news and cultural events, as well as engaging with peers and celebrities.

Weibo is the second-most popular social media platform in China, with a user base of roughly 573 million users. It is a Chinese social media platform particularly popular among young white-collar workers and mobile users in urban populations. 

Weibo is a powerful tool for marketers not only because of the many marketing features available to the brand but also because of its open nature and how easy it is for Chinese users to share content and get viral à la Twitter (through hashtags) resulting in a very engaged user base.

Open social media encourages people not just to comment on posts but also tell their experiences with products they tried or brands in general, which means that if you’re marketing your business as B2C (or targeting consumers), then WeChat isn’t enough-you need an account on Weibo too!

Chinese Internet users are using Weibo to discover the latest brands and promotions from key opinion leaders. Daily, there are around 130 million words published on this platform as well as 1.5 million videos uploaded on the app.

Weibo is also widely used by brands for paid promotion and it’s one of the best Chinese social media platforms for paid advertising and influencer marketing.

Xiaohongshu: A Home for Fashion, Beauty, and Shopping

Xiaohongshu, also known as Little Red Book or RED, is a unique hybrid between a social media site and an e-commerce platform. It has a strong focus on user-generated content (UGC), and its 300 million users review luxury products, share travel experiences, suggest tips and deals, and shop directly from merchants. It can be compared to a mix of Instagram and Pinterest, because of the focus on shopping and travel experiences. 

Little Red Book was created to be a platform for product ratings and reviews by shoppers. It’s an environment where KOL marketing can thrive because it gives consumers the chance of sharing their thoughts about different products with other Chinese users. This system is great in a country where peer reviews & word of mouth matter so much.

Xiaohongshu also has e-commerce feature called RED store and posts can have hyperlinks linking to an online store outside the app.

China skincare market case study GMA

Douyin: Explosively Popular Short Videos — Tiktok

Douyin is Tiktok sister app. The main difference? one is catered to the Chinese population while the other one is for the rest of the world. Although the two are two distinct social media platforms, they are pretty much the same, only content is much more controlled on China’s Douyin than is it on Tiktok. Douyin was launched in 2016 and has over 700 million monthly active users.

Just like Tiktok’s, the Douyin targeting algorithm is extremely efficient making it a great option to push your content to your target audience but also for paid advertising. On top of that, the eCommerce functionalities will help you bring traffic to your Chinese online store or other Chinese social media apps.

Play with your Douyin fan base: The best thing about challenges on Douyin is that they’re really productive for both the user and brand. The app creates an engaging experience by incentivizing mass participation which results in increased creativity from users who want to show off their skills or what kind of fun things they can create with ease! It’s great because it connects people not just online but also within real life.

Kuaishou: Life Outside Tier 1 Cities in Short Videos

Founded in 2011, Kuaishou is Douyin’s #1 competitor and is actually China’s OG short video social media app. The Kuaishou app has been a favorite among those in China who stream their lives online. So far this year, it’s precisely the latter sector that accounts for most of its annual revenue! In the last five years, live streaming has become a major source of revenue for Kuaishou.

Now, Kuaishou does not target China’s richest cities (1st or 2nd tiers) and this is clearly working for them. Despite this, lower-tier cities are a hotbed for marketing activities, as Tier 1 cities are already saturated with content and advertisements. Kuaishou capitalizes on this by catering to users outside of the top-tier cities, allowing for content that differs from other popular platforms. It allows users to create short, engaging videos, similar to Tiktok, and it is also adding new features like a game center to become an all-in-one entertainment app.

Zhihu: Engaging Question and Answer social media marketing

With around 100 million monthly active users Zhihu is a unique knowledge platform, with its closest Western analogs being Quora or Yahoo Answers. However, neither comes close to the social function that Zhihu has integrated — aside from the question-and-answer, users can also participate in discussions, write and read articles pertaining to specific industries, or give and participate in live presentations about a particular topic. 

It caters to a discerning audience with higher education and disposable income, who are interested in learning about the products they purchase and sharing knowledge and insight with their peers. 

Zhihu has many tools that can be used by companies to promote themselves even without a business account. With Zhihu marketing, simple but smart content marketing combined with ORM (online reputation management) strategy would help significantly improve your visibility and awareness, and legitimacy in the Chinese market.

Bilibili: An Active Fan Community

Bilibili occupies a niche as China’s largest anime streaming site, as well as one of the largest video streaming sites in general. Its user base is highly engaged and active, owing to the site’s niche of animation, comics, and games (ACG), strict account creation requirements, and social viewing experience (comments left by users scroll visibly across the videos). 

Bilibili has launched its own e-commerce program services as well as mini-program features and the number of paying users (and users) keeps growing.

bilibili marketing

One of Bilibli’s most interesting features for marketers is its KOLs platforms Sparkle which helps brands and influencers connect. Judging by the return rate of brands after the first use, this is quite a success. Bilibili also offers live-streaming and native ads.

Tencent Video: The Leading Video Platform

Tencent Video is one of the three major video platforms in China but is ahead of the other two competitors, iQiYi and Youku, with 112 million subscribers and 900 million monthly active users. It has similarities to Youtube, with a broad and diverse audience.

How Do I Get Started With Chinese Social Media?

GMA Social Media Solutions for Foreign Brands in China

How to choose the right social media for your brand/company in China

With the plethora of social media available in China, you’ll have to make choices as you can’t be everywhere at once and you don’t need to be everywhere at once. Above we’ve only introduced you to some of the most used Chinese social media but there are some for basically every niche.

The starter pack of Chinese social media should be Wechat & Weibo. Wechat because of how big it is and Weibo because it is a well-rounded “open” social media that is favorable to brands and branding and where all topics are touched. If you wanna go further:

  • Xiaohonshu is ideal for beauty and lifestyle brands & companies
  • Zhihu for niche & technology as well as the education industry
  • Toutiao for B2B companies (notably through paid advertising)
  • Douyin if you are targetting younger folks from 1st and 2nd tiers cities
  • Kuaishou for social e-commerce purposes targetting smaller Chinese cities through live streaming and micro KOLs marketing
  • Bilibili to target highly engage millennials and gen z through videos
  • Meituan Dianping to promote a venue
  • Mafengwo & Qyer to promote destination & reach out to Chinese travel lovers
  • Douban for culture & event enthusiasts
  • Douyu for game streaming
  • and so on

Chinese Social Media & Business Accounts

Social media platforms are a popular tool for businesses to grow their reach and increase brand awareness and it is very true for China where each and every social media offers a special business account for brands to efficiently reach out to their target audience.

In order to open an official account on any Chinese social network, you will need verification as well as the proper paperwork for China- Each Chinese social media platform has its own sets of rules & requirements for registering a business account, if this sounds overwhelming, no worries, there are plenty of organization (like us) that provides such services.

How To Promote My Brand Through Chinese Social Media?

Promoting a brand in China is very different from promoting in the West, and you need to be able to effectively use the tools that Chinese social media provides. Your approach will differ according to what social media you use, and certain strategies include: 

Viral, Unique & Regular Content

Regular content matters if you wish to grow your following and keep your fans engaged. Obviously, it should be original content that respects the law of the country as well as the sensitivity of Chinese netizens: avoid stereotypes and try adopting the point of view of a Chinese consumer (seeing how many – big – brands are failing at this task we can say without a doubt that is not that simple).

Trends: Short videos are extra popular and get a lot of engagement on Chinese social media platforms, especially if they feature a beloved face (see KOL marketing below).

Use Chinese Social Media Built-In Advertising Tools

Most Chinese social media platforms, if popular enough, have advertising tools available to businesses that want to use them, as they are aware of the opportunities for marketing to their user base. Paid advertising is an excellent way to boost traffic at certain times of the year. Systems vary from app-to-app and it’s more or less effective depending on your budget, industry reputation online

WeChat has three different formats of advertising:

  • WeChat Moments — Posts that will show on the user’s main feed (similar to Facebook’s Newsfeed)
  • WeChat Official Accounts — Verified accounts post articles daily on the platform and businesses can buy or bid for a banner on articles their audience is likely to read
  • WeChat Mini Program/Games — Businesses can pay for pop-up banners and ad space within the 3rd-party apps and mini-games on the platform

Weibo has four different types of advertising:

  • Banners — A banner that leads to the advertiser’s homepage
  • Search Engine Promotion — A promotion tag within the Weibo search bar allows businesses to appear alongside the hot search list 
  • Fan Headline/Fanstop — Allows businesses to promote their account and content to users deemed likely to follow them
  • Fan Tunnel — Allows businesses to promote their account and content to a wider audience

We are touching on the topic of paid advertising in China in detail in this post. We are looking at paid advertising on Baidu China’s number 1 search engine as well as paid advertising on China’s main social media apps.

Using Chinese KOLs – Key Opinion Leaders

Key Opinion Leaders, or KOLs, are similar to the Western “influencers”. However, they have a much greater impact in China, as Chinese consumers tend to follow recommendations from sources they trust instead of a brand or a company. KOLs have large followings and tend to be idolized by netizens, and thus hold powerful sway over consumer decisions.

Contacting a KOL to help you market your brand on social media will be a smart move to build consumer trust, and is in fact instrumental to success on platforms with a focus on user-generated content, like Xiao Hong Shu and Douyin.

There are different types of content you can create when doing KOLS marketing in China and it can take many formats (articles, videos, pictures, audio):

  • Reviews: KOL will create a review of your brand/products in its favored format. It could be content fully dedicated to your post, or inserted in between other products reviews and so on
  • Products placement. Often in the form of a banner on a post, a picture of the KOL wearing/using your products, etc.
  • Giveaway campaigns: This is a great way to engage your consumers by giving them something valuable in return for their time and attention. Whether it’s free products, discounts on future purchases, or just an opportunity that will inspire some word-of-mouth marketing campaign.

We can help you with your social media marketing in China!

While you can quantify the largest social media platforms through numbers and data, “best” is purely subjective. It will depend on the products you sell (e.g. a brand with luxury beauty products will be at home on Xiao Hong Shu) and the customers you target (e.g. a business selling to gamers might want to advertise on Bilibili).

In the end, to succeed in marketing your brand on Chinese social media, you have to know your audience, be aware of growth opportunities outside of major cities, and adapt your content to Chinese sensibilities. 

We are a China-based marketing agency specializing in digital marketing and e-commerce solutions for Western brands in the Chinese market. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how that you need to succeed in this lucrative environment.

Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us if you’re interested in learning more about social media marketing in China. We will be glad to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts to explain everything you need to know and present you with the best solutions for your brand.


  • I am a singer songwriter and a music producer who owns a small publishing company that publishes and promotes my music. I am trying to see how I can enter in Chinese music industry, promote my music via chinese social media. I live in California and have been unable to create any Chinese social media accounts because of the requirements of having Chinese cell phone and ID. My website is and it is linked to other social medias available in the US.
    I was wondering if you could advice, suggest or help in this matter. I would appreciate. Thank You

  • arthur in China

    A brilliant article about social media 2022 in China.
    What social media do you advise to make sales?

Leave your comment