Emerging markets: Social spread

Sam Flemming

Almost half a billion Chinese are online and are avid social networkers. Brands have seized on the opportunity with new ways to use influencers to create buzz and sell product

China has over 457 million internet users. If its internet community were a country, it would be ranked third in population behind India and just ahead of the US.

With only 30% penetration (compared to 80% in the US) and a total population of 1.3 billion people, the world's biggest online market is only going to get bigger. McKinsey projects that by 2015, Chinese internet users will reach 750 million, with urban penetration reaching 66% – similar to Europe.

The social media community in China is also massive. Facebook and Twitter are blocked, but there are very popular local equivalents. Chinese netizens include 295 million bloggers, 148 million bulletin board system (BBS) users, 235 million social network users, over 100 million microblog users and 284 million video-sharing site users.