Social media the world over is proving to be one of the most trusted places consumers source information about products and services, but nowhere more so than China. As Chinese television, radio and newspapers have long been controlled by the Government, many Chinese consumers are somewhat skeptical of news and ‘advertorials’ from them.
Although the Chinese Government does exercise some control over Weibo by scanning and screening certain content and in extreme cases, disabling commenting for short periods, Chinese users view this as a necessary evil. The transparent nature of Weibo, which allows anyone to have a voice, makes it one of the most trustworthy and unbiased sources of information in China.
A 2010 eMarketer global survey into trust of businesses using Microblogs, still just as relevant today, found that 95% of Chinese netizens trust a brand more if they have seen it on Weibo, with 46% trusting it a lot more. Just 22% of US Internet users trust a brand more who tweets/blogs and 14% in the UK.
How Chinese consumers trust businesses with a microblog. Source: eMarketer.com
With 55% of Chinese netizens having contributed to a conversation about a brand on Weibo, having a brand on Weibo gives Chinese consumers the opportunity to share their thoughts on that brand, good or bad. In the eyes of Chinese consumers, this gives a more balanced view, which all contributes to this trust.