Although China’s stock markets have been hogging the headlines of late, it is real estate that has long been the focus for most Chinese investors. Unfortunately China’s residential property hasn’t had a great run over the past year and a half, but there are signs of things improving.

In July, China’s property prices experienced their fastest growth in 18 months, with only 29 of the 70 main cities reporting falls, compared with 34 in June. The growth contributed to Moody’s predicting a property market recovery in the second half of 2015. This will be assisted by the subsequent announcement that downpayment requirements for second homes will be lowered from 30% to 20% in Chinese cities.  China’s property market has significantly more impact on consumer sentiment than its stock market, so the positive signs are welcome. 

Although the Shanghai stock exchange is still around 40% higher than it was a year ago, the recent plummet has spooked a lot of Chinese to look for alternative places to invest their cash. While many will resort back to domestic property, more and more are looking for stable and transparent assets abroad.

A Financial Times survey of China’s high net worth individuals found 61% plan to increase their overseas investments in the next two years. Almost half plan to invest more than 30% of their assets abroad. Their main motivation is not for higher yields, but to protect their money – most expected a maximum return of 5% on their investments.

The U.S. is the preferred investment destination for 42% of respondents, made attractive by its robust economy, looser visa restrictions and high quality education. America’s reputation has even seen one of its leading investment banks, Goldman Sachs, counterfeited in Shenzhen. Hong Kong, Australia, Canada and the UK are the next most popular destinations.

Housing is, and will remain, the most attractive investment option domestically and abroad for the growing pool of Chinese investors. 77% of those surveyed by FT owned at least one overseas home. Vancouver has seen an 80% increase in houses selling over $3 million over the past year, of which 70-75% of purchasers have Mainland China connections according to estimates. Although the RMB has dipped a little lately, it is still up on most currencies compared to 12-months ago, which will make overseas investments an increasingly appealing option for China’s growing wealthy classes.  We hope you enjoy this week’s Skinny. 

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers

Majority of Chinese See Benefits From Trade69% of Chinese consumers view greater availability of products from different parts of the world as a good thing, versus 10% who don’t according to Gallup. The most positive are 15-24 year olds at 79% and 25-34 year olds at 73%.

Baidu Wants to Use Your Phone To Make Malls Smarter: China Mall 2020Baidu’s new app Connect will link shoppers with brick and mortar stores. It can track locations to the accuracy of a metre, even inside shopping malls, sending them relevant promotions and communications while collecting valuable data. Shopper movements can also be tracked in-store to help shop designers better understand and position products and promotions.

Online: Internet & Ecommerce

Despite Success Of Alibaba, Chinese Online Shoppers Among Most Paranoid When It Comes To Ecommerce Security – And For Good ReasonAbout one in four of China’s 430 million online shoppers prioritise security when choosing an online vendor according to WorldPay. 70% say they feel more secure shopping when payment authentication and certificate logos are clearly displayed.

Premium Food & Beverage

China’s Norwegian Salmon Boycott Hits Chinese ConsumersChina’s boycott of Norwegian salmon following the Nobel Peace Prize award snafu in 2010, has seen Chinese consumers pay a higher price for poorer quality salmon brought in from Vietnam and Hong Kong. Norway’s market share has actually increased since 2010.

Fake Rice Made With Paper Found In GuangdongFake rice made with tiny bits of rolled up paper were discovered in Guangdong after a woman noticed her lunch was harder to chew than normal. The incident follows reports of fake plastic rice earlier this year.

12.5% Of Beverages Failed Chinese Inspections In First-Half Of YearOne in eight beverages sold in China inspected by the China Food & Drug Administration this year did not meet minimum standards. Excessive bacteria was the top reason, followed by poor quality, illegal or excessive additives, heavy metal pollution and chemical residue. Ice cream and aquatic products were the worst performing foods.

German Food Exports To China Surge 47% In First HalfChinese trust for German-made cars and machines is transferring to other products, with food and beverage exports to China growing 47% between January and June this year. Overall imports grew less than 1% on the back of weak demand for cars.

Alibaba Brings The Taste Of Napa Valley Wine To ChinaRobert Mondavi Wines has launched an exclusive flagship store on to officially kick off Alibaba’s newly launched “Tmall Vineyard Direct.” Chinese tourists account for about one-third of the 200,000 visitors to Mondavi’s winery each year and the vineyard has been offering Chinese language tours since 2013.  In related news, Xinjiang wine maker Changyu has purchased 70% of Spanish wine maker Dicot for $29.5 million.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

Chinese Tourists Continue To Spend Despite Economic TurmoilThe share of Chinese households with annual disposable income above $55,000 tripled in just five years, contributing to growing numbers of consumers who can afford to travel. While Chinese tourists have declined to Hong Kong, more than twice as many Chinese visited Thailand than a year earlier and Japan’s July visitors from China more than doubled in 12-months. Australia had 16% more Chinese tourists this July, who are on track to top the 6% they contributed to the country’s 2014 economic growth this year.

Wanda Realm Fuyang Bring Luxury Flourish To ChinaHigh end hotels continue to penetrate China’s low-tier cities with Wanda opening a luxury Realm hotel in Fuyang, Anhui province.

Banking, Investments & Finance

Downpayment Requirements For Second Homes Lowered In ChinaChina is hoping to increase house sales by lowering minimum down payments for second home purchases from 30% to 20% – the same as first homes. The new policy applies across China, with the exception of Tier 1 cities Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen who can determine their own rates.

Wealthy Chinese Prepare To Take Capital AbroadAlmost half of China’s high net worth individuals plan to invest more than 30% of their assets abroad. 61% overall plan to increase their overseas investments in the next two years.

Shenzhen Goldman Sachs Is China’s Latest FakeA local financial leasing company in Shenzhen is using both Goldman Sachs’ English and Chinese name as its own. American banks aren’t the only target for counterfeiters: a fake branch of China Construction Bank, the world’s second largest bank by assets, was discovered last month in the city of Linyi, Shandong Province.

Video and Entertainment

Alibaba Launches Subscription Video Streaming, Priced At $57 Per YearAlibaba has launched its Netflix-style subscription video service, TBO – Tmall Box Office. Users can stream a mix of Chinese and foreign movies and U.S. TV shows. It is the first time a service has been launched in China that locks all content behind a paywall. Monthly or yearly subscriptions are priced as low as ¥1 (16c) a day.

Cars &: Auto

Volkswagen Teases Car Buyers in China Using Art, Opens “Rain Room”VW has launched its “Rain Room” in Shanghai where torrential rain fills the 150 square metre room, but digitally detects where people are and stops the rain on that exact spot to ensure they stay dry.  VW aims to have consumers associate art, design and technology with its brand. China is an increasingly tough market for car makers, as the number of consumers planning to make a purchase over the next year fell to 18.7% in August according to MNI.  This is down from 20.7% in July but above the 16.2% in June.

That’s the Skinny for the week! See previous newsletter here. Contact China Skinny for marketing, research and digital advice and implementation.

China Skinny wishes you a happy 2015; we hope you saw it in with a bang!  The beginning of the year is often a time to plan ahead for the following 12-months. Whether you are already in China, or entering this year, here are a few points to keep in mind:

1. Strive to Understand Chinese Consumers

Understand who your consumers are. Where do they shop? What will catch their attention? How have businesses been successful with similar products and target markets? In addition to the answers to these questions, understand that Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and diverse each day. Just because a foreign business is present in China does not mean they will succeed, especially with the growing competition – not only from foreign brands but also from homegrown brands

2. Be Bold

Entering China with an online-only strategy has worked nicely for some but it is not going to work for everyone, especially those with low to moderate brand recognition. How are you going to make a splash and get noticed? Chinese consumers are not limited in their options as more imported goods and services attempt to attract their wallets. How will you stand out? Not every organisation or company may have the means to open a store, but how about a pop-up store? Or can you join a road show to exhibit your goods? Combining offline efforts with digital efforts is one way to smartly and efficiently capitalise on opportunities in China. There are ways to make a buzz beyond store openings, one just has to be smart about it.

3. Venture Out

First and second tier cities are fun and exciting, with their bright lights and big malls, but they’re becoming very crowded. Is there a place for your goods or services outside of the major cities – the most landlocked province in China was the number one seller of bikinis online per capita!  Provinces in China differ enormously so trying to tackle a population as large as China’s with a single countrywide strategy can be difficult, if not impossible. Geographical differentiation needs to be taken into account and regional strategies should to be considered to maximise available opportunities and provide consumers with relevant products, services and messaging.

4. Be Committed and Flexible

China changes fast. Entering China and getting setting up is only the first step to tackling China. To succeed in China you must not only be committed but also informed on the constant changes that happen in China. A long-term strategy that is flexible is fundamental when entering China. 

5. Keep it Real!

Stay true to your brand. In a low-trust society such as China it is vital to stick to your foundation. Attempting to change your brand to satisfy someone’s notion of what appeals to Chinese shoppers often backfires in the medium term. Understand your market, the available opportunities, and how your products or services best fit into that market. There are ways to localise and appeal to Chinese consumers while still remaining true to your brand. Presenting your brand as authentic and retaining your roots while taking a China-fied approach has a more sustainable chance of success than changing your brand’s identity.


China isn’t easy by any measure, but keeping these five points in mind will ensure your business is well placed to maximise the opportunities that China presents. All the best for 2015 in China!


There are new stats and figures coming out about China every day.  They are often staggering, and regularly inconsistent.   China’s diversity and opaqueness means there’s often a few stray figures, but after studying enough China research and data, consistent trends and themes do come through.  Notwithstanding, sometimes even the most reputable of sources don’t align with these trends. 

Late last month, FT, backed by data from Credit Suisse released some stats and an opinion piece outlining China’s preference for foreign brands.  The article includes stats such as ‘91% of Chinese consumers intend to buy a foreign handset in 2013’, whereas in reality, just one of China’s top-six selling handsets isn’t Chinese.  The opinion piece alludes to Chinese consumers having an unwavering preference for foreign brands across many segments.  Whilst Chinese do hold many foreign brands in high esteem, the article could give foreign companies the impression that there is limited competition coming from Chinese brands.  We disagree. 

It is important for foreign brands to be aware that local companies are upping their game, and Chinese consumers no longer unconditionally put foreign brands on a pedestal – they need to earn that reputation.   Brands from Apple, to Nike, to KFC, once some of the most-trusted Western businesses in China, have seen their brand reputations slide and market share diminish recently.  Foreign films no longer dominate China’s box office.  The biggest foreign fast food chains aren’t keeping up with the segment’s growth.  And although domestic car maker’s share of the local market has actually dropped, local manufacturers are being recognised for improving their standards, and it’s likely they’ll start growing their share. The FT article made good points that local brands better understand how to appeal to traditional ideas, but they are also making inroads in classic Western-style marketing and messaging as well.  Many foreign brands remain aspirational and have an advantage of perceived higher standards, but marketing needs to be smarter than ever to convince Chinese consumers that its worth spending more on imports.  Hopefully this week’s Skinny will help you do just that.

For our Australasian readers, China Skinny’s founder Mark Tanner will be presenting at the China Digital Forum in Melbourne on 19 November and Sydney on 21 November. Mark will be joined by executives from Baidu, Alibaba (Taobao), Tencent (WeChat) and China Telecom in what is destined to be an excellent event.  China Skinny Weekly subscribers can receive special full and half day rates by entering the promo code ‘CS’. Find out more at the Australian Business Forum website.

We hope you enjoy this week’s Skinny!

Consumers, Chinese Consumers

China: Foreign values: According to FT, Chinese brands only really making headway at the commoditised end of consumer goods in China. Reading this, a foreign brand could be led to believe that Chinese brands aren’t too much of a challenge. Chinese products and services are upping their game across the board in the domestic market and are increasingly challenging established foreign brands, with a little help from the authorities.  In addition to that, Chinese consumers are much more discerning when choosing products and services and no longer just automatically assume foreign = better.

How Chinese Consumers Prioritize Spending: Watches, Handsets, Perfume and Autos top categories for purchasing foreign brands according to FT and Credit Suisse. Bottled water, cigarettes, dairy and tissues top domestic purchases. Some of these stats largely contradict countless other studies, including China Skinny’s own research and actual sales figures. Take mobile handsets for example, the research claims 91% of Chinese consumers intend on purchasing foreign brands in 2013 – Samsung is the only foreign brand in the top-six in China at present – just try buying a limited-offer Xiaomi online. And dairy at 92% of local brands?

Lane Crawford’s President, Andrew Keith, Talks About Why Selecting the Right Mix of Goods for Chinese Consumers is Like Conducting an Orchestra: “Our consumers are moving from buying products that reflect status toward really appreciating products and how it reflects their lifestyle. It’s not buying a statement piece to show off. It’s about feeling confident in purchasing to your lifestyle requirements,” says Andrew Keith, president of Lane Crawford.

Chinese Consumers See Their Rights Enshrined in Major Legal Review: China’s consumer protection law has had its first major overhaul in 20 years. Changes include online shopping and harsher penalties for businesses that mislead shoppers.

Wal-Mart to Accelerate China Expansion With 110 New Stores: While some foreign bulk retailers are struggling in China, Walmart is upping its expansion, especially in smaller cities. Net sales grew 6.3% in Q2, but shopper traffic declined 6.8%.

Consumers, Internet, eCommerce, Mobile & Social Media

Asia Messaging Apps Seek to Upend Rivals with Marketing Might: WeChat has big plans outside of China, budgeting up to $200 million on marketing this year alone. 150 million of WeChat’s 600 million users globally are now outside of China.

Report: Only 13% of Chinese Consumers Will Buy Smartphones Priced Over $330: Chinese consumers have an overwhelming preference for a mid-ranged Chinese smartphones, with 57.8% wanting to pay $165 to $246. Just 13% are prepared to pay over $330, ensuring the Apples and Samsungs of the world still have the premium end covered.

Chinese Food and Beverage

China Pushes Genetically Modified Food: Beijing’s propaganda machine is talking up Genetically Modified foods, possibly laying the groundwork for a roll out of more GM stock in the Mainland. The social media sphere, bloggers who are already acutely aware of the toxic food scandals rarely respond positively online on the subject.

Yihaodian to Offer More Choices of Imported Food: Online food retailer Yihaodian is looking to develop partnerships with trade commissions and agricultural organizations in the United States, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. sells more than 18,000 imported products on its site, of which 78% is imported food. ¥63 billion ($10.4 billion) worth of imported food came into China in 2012, with growth averaging 15% a year for the past 5 years.

Local Tastes Tempt China Diners Away from Golden Arches: McDonalds is looking to slow its expansion in China as local competitors eat into market share. Despite heavy investment, McDonald’s market share has been stagnant at 2.7% since 2007. Consumers eating cheaper alternatives or dining at home has seen their growth rate halve over the past 5 years to 8%.

China’s Dairy Market Policies Clear as Milk: Among high-end baby formula brands in China, foreign companies currently hold more than 75% of the market. The Chinese Government wants that portion to be 30% by 2015. In related news, Japanese dairy giant Meiji has quit China’s baby milk market, citing rising costs, however analysts believe it is more political and safety fears could be involved. The company remains optimistic about liquid milk in the Mainland.

Sweet-Toothed Chinese Consumers Turn to Chocolate: Chocolate in China is picked to grow 10.1% a year in value and 7.4% in volume until 2017.

Cooking Oil Blends Worry Chinese Consumers: Blended oils in China often only contain a tiny percentage of the promised oil – less than 5% peanut oil or a drop of pure olive oil, bulked up by often more than 50% palm oil.

You May Never Eat Street Food in China Again After Watching this Video: On the subject of cooking oil, if you’re a fan of the local hole in the wall, or street vendor, probably best to skip this 2 min vid. An estimated 10% of oil in China is the gutter stuff.

Tourism and Travel

How the Chinese Learned to Embrace Independent Travel: 90% of Chinese travellers are under 45.  They are focused on individuality and making their own choices, and finding it easier than ever to get visas. Bloggers such as Gu Yue (who backpacked from Beijing to Berlin to see his girlfriend) is creating a huge amount of romantic adulation for the idea of life out on the open road.

LVMH’s DFS Group Plans First Europe Shops as Chinese Travel More: Tax free shopping by overseas Chinese tourists grew 20% in the first quarter of 2013 and DFS is hoping to tap into it by opening its first store in Europe.

Recreation and Sport

Sina Expands NBA Partnership to Woo Advertisers: Sina and NBA enhance their partnership to focus on mobile broadcasting, community interaction and live video in a bid to sell more data-driven advertising.

Q & A: Tom Byer on Soccer in China: Tom Byer hired as head technical adviser for the Chinese School Football Program to teach football to tens of thousands of Chinese children.

Film and Entertainment

Co-Produced Movies Gain Popularity in China: 190 million Chinese went to the cinema last year, next year it’s expected to be 290 million.

Sculpture and Art

Forging an Art Market in China: After peaking in 2011, China’s art market dropped 24% in 2012, some say due to a lack of trust in authenticity. “Eagle Standing on a Pine Tree,” a 1946 ink painting by Qi Baishi, turned the art world upside down in 2011, selling for $65.4 million, but it still sits in a warehouse as the winning bidder still thinks it’s a fake.

Auto and Cars

Chinese Cars: More Reliable Than You Think: Four Chinese auto brands outperformed industry average for issues. Although it doesn’t appear to be helping with Chinese manufacturers having just 27% of the local market, down from 31% in 2010.

Understanding Chinese Consumers in 2013: Younger, More Savvy and Not Lacking Money: Chinese car buyers are getting younger, and females are increasingly playing their part, accounting for 31% of auto purchasers in China. More and more buyers are looking for individuality and branding.

Premium and Luxury Goods

Luxury Goods Sales Slowed as High-End Chinese Consumers Cut Purchases: Luxury sales in China are picked to grow just 2.5% this year.

Luxury Brands In China Face Four Major Challenges: The four biggest problems with luxury brands in China: 1) Intellectual property; 2) High costs; 3) Finding qualified staff; and 4) Protectionism.

That’s The Skinny for the week!  China Skinny would love to discuss how we could help with your marketing, online initiatives or research to take advantage of China’s opportunities.  Just email us at or call us at +86 21 3221 0273 so we can learn more about your objectives and let you know how we can help.

If you’ve missed earlier news or need to learn more, there’s a library of information about Chinese consumers in prior China Skinny Weekly’s right here. You can have this delivered to your inbox each week by subscribing for email updates, or if social media is more your thing, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS feed.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles, please let us know.

China Skinny is pleased to announce a partnership with British research and strategy agency CrowdDNA.

The strategic partnership will see the agencies share insights, methodologies and resources to ensure their clients continue to receive cutting edge, cost effective research across China and Europe.

“The partnership with Crowd DNA is a natural fit for China Skinny given our similar values and approach to innovation,” says China Skinny founder Mark Tanner. “China is changing on a scale never seen before and we constantly need to evolve to keep up. The sharing of methodologies and other synergies will ensure that our clients will continue to understand their target markets in China better than anyone.”

China’s transition from an investment-led economy to a consumption-based economy, coupled with the soaring growth of the middle and upper classes has seen China become the most sought-after prize for European businesses expanding globally. China Skinny’s leadership in Chinese consumer research and intelligence will enable CrowdDNA to provide its clients such as Red Bull, IPC Media, Peroni, Channel 4 and Sony Music, compelling insights into China’s complex consumers.

Crowd DNA founder Andy Crysell comments: “We’re impressed with how China Skinny communicate their message and the impact of their work. Overseas research is accounting for close to 50% of our revenue now and, inevitably, China is an area of focus. The partnership with China Skinny bolsters our credibility and integrity in what is a particularly complex market.”

As increasingly confident and resourced Chinese brands look to expand beyond Mainland China, China Skinny is well placed to assist them in understanding the intricacies of the European market through its partnership with CrowdDNA.

There are 368 million registered Weibo users, more people as the population of the United States.  Yet with more than 1.34 billion people in China, that still leaves almost 1 billion on the other side of the Weibo-divide.  So just who are the 368 million Weibo-haves?  

Sina Weibo users represent a vast cross section of China’s rising middle and upper classes including professionals, Government, sports stars, celebrities and leading voices in every category.  They tend to be in higher income brackets than users of other social media, with 30% earning more than 8,000 yuan ($1,270) a month ($15,240 / year).  The household income of the average user is 8,364 yuan/month ($15,828 p.a.) .  They are also much more likely to live in Tier 1 cities according to McKinsey. 

Gender is evenly split between females (52%) and males (48%) although the general reasons for using Weibo is quite different between the sexes.

Weibo users are young, 27% of all users aged between 18-24, and another 42% aged 25-34.  31% are aged over 34 years old.

Weibo users make up a highly educated section of society, with 54% of users having a bachelor’s degree or higher and 7% having a postgraduate degree.

They are big mobile users, sending more than half of all Sina Weibo posts from a mobile (compared to 20% on Twitter).

Whereas in many western countries, older demographic have the highest spending power, in China things are different.  The young, educated and mobile segment of China’s population who are using Weibo are also the most biggest consumers and most likely to purchase western products.  So having an insight into Weibo also gives an insight into your customers.

Here's an infographic of how Sina Weibo user demographics compare with other social media in China.

Weibo Facts

Chinese netizens are big Internet users.  According to a Boston Consulting report in early 2012, China’s 513 million Internet users were online for 2.7 hours every day – more than any other country except Japan’s 2.9 hours. 

So during these 2.7 hours, just when do Chinese use Weibo the most?  What’s the most effective time to post or view microblogs?  You only need to remember two numbers – 10 & 12. 

Weibo users are most active in the two hour period between 10am-12 noon CST (China Standard Time), the perfect precursor to a yummy lunch, and then again between 10pm and midnight, catching up on everything before they get to bed.  As China’s timezone is 12 hours ahead of New York (EST) during the warmer months of daylight savings, and 13 hours in the cooler months, which means if you’re posting on Weibo in NYC, the peak times are the same in summer.   

Best Time To Post on Weibo

Weibo users are least likely to be blogging, conversing and catching up on opinions & news during the wee hours of 3am-7am.

30% of Weibo users login every day, contributing to the 25 million posts made daily.  Alexa has estimated that the Weibo users spend an average of 15 minutes per day.  A McKinsey & Co. study reported that Chinese Internet users spend 46 minutes a day on average on Social Media sites– about 25% more than Americans about more than five times the Japanese.  


Weibo Facts

Social Media is running hot in China right now.  A recent study by McKinsey revealed that 91% of all Internet users in China, have used Social Media in the past 6 months – that's 467 million Chinese consumers.  So just who are these consumers and what are they using?  Weibo takes top spot in most categories.  Curiously, as a sign of China's growing wealth, users of the top-4 social media sites all have a household income of more than $15,000 USD per annum.

Chinese Social Media User Analysis Infograph

This infograph was originally published in Chinese by GMI China.  Thanks to Resonance China for bringing it to our attention.

As more and more businesses jump on the Weibo horse, the Chinese Weibo community are on the wagon following them.  A study published by Sina Weibo found that 56% of users follow at least one business account on Weibo, following four businesses on average.  Like social media in many parts of the world, some of those so-called 'followers' rarely use social media or are bots, with just 35% regularly accessing their Weibo accounts (‘regularly' is not defined in the research).

Although barely over 1,000 foreign businesses had a Weibo business account in March 2012, it appears western businesses are being talked about online.  55% of Chinese Internet users say they’ve contributed to an online discussion about a foreign company according to advertising & media agency OlgivyOne. 50% of Weibo users consider it a way to make customer complaints.  And the number of Chinese netizens who would like to communicate with a brand on Weibo is increasing, especially in more educated demographics – who are the users most likely to purchase western products.  This further reinforces the importance of using Weibo as listening post to keep abreast of business in the Chinese market.

The most followed business on Weibo, MeiliShuo, a social shopping website which now has 3.8 million followers.  Many other businesses have also surpassed the million followers on Weibo. 

More than two thirds of followers of businesses on Weibo are the highly desirable 18-29 age group.  Males are more likely to become fans of businesses on Weibo, accounting for 56% of all fans, although females are more likely to share brand and product information.

The Weibo Facts

It seems the dominance of men in China’s boardrooms is also reflected on China’s most important communication channel, Sina Weibo. Weibo’s runaway popularity and influence has seen the leading voices on Weibo also become some of the leading voices in China.

A 2012 Fudan University study into the Opinion Leaders of Chinese Micro Blogs measured Weibo identities.  Criteria was based on their circle of influence in traditional media and on the Internet, relationships with Weibo fans and other Weibo users, active participation and contentiousness of topics raised.

The report, led by Zhang Zhi’an, concluded that males have significantly more influence on Sina Weibo.  The top 20 bloggers are all men, as are 91 of the top-100.  The most influential bloggers are aged between 30 and 40, accounting for 72 of the top 100.

Media people on Weibo have the largest fan count and post news from the most sources.  Although there are more entrepreneurs on the list, much of their fan base is low quality; this is both inactive fans and ‘fictitious fans’ – a social media issue in most parts of the world, where fake fans and followers have been created to give the perception of increased popularity.  The study accounted for this issue.

Although Government agencies, party organs and individual officials have set up more than 50,000 weibo accounts (Source: The Economist), no Government official is among the top-100.

Women should definitely not be ignored on Weibo, especially for businesses, as they are more likely to share product and brand information.

Top-5 most influential microbloggers on Sina Weibo

1. Pan Shiyi, Businessman (chairman of Soho China) Fans: 11.7 million
2. Jack Ma (Ma Yun) Businessman (founder and chairman of Alibaba) Fans: 6.5 million
3. Ren Zhiqiang, Businessman (chairman of Huayuan Real Estate Co) Fans: 9.1 million
4. Li Kaifu, Businessman (former Google China president and now CEO of Innovation Works) Fans: 14.8 million
5. Lang Xianping, Scholar, leading economist. Fans: 11.2 million

Weibo's key influencers

China’s most influential Weibo heads (from left): Pan Shiyi, Jack Ma, Ren Zhiqiang, Li Kaifu and Lang Xianping

Top-5 most influential women microbloggers on Sina Weibo

1. Hong Huang, Publisher, TV host, author. Fans: 5.2 million
2. Luqiu Luwei, Journalist, executive news editor for Phoenix Television. Fans: 1.8 million
3. Ren Xiaowen, Novelist. Fans: 0.1 million
4. Li Yinhe, Researcher, leading Sexologist. Fans: 0.6 million
5. Zhang Xin, Business-woman, found of real estate company Soho China: 4.0 million

The Weibo Facts

There is a common perception in the West that Chinese lack creativity – great rote learners and copiers, but not too creative when it comes coming up with something new and original.  Well the folk down at Forrester Research spend 2011 surveying 330,000 Social Media Users and uncovered some very interesting facts that may change your perceptions about Chinese creativity.

When it comes to Social Media, the ‘uncreative’ Chinese are actually more than three times more creative that their counterparts in the USA and Europe.  If business in China is starting to awaken, the Internet has been up for hours, having devoured breakfast, done pilates, read the news and looking for the next task of the day.

Forrester Research’s definition of a Social Media Creator was someone who:

In Europe, just 23% of social media users are considered ‘creators’.  Across the Atlantic in America, the land of Google, Facebook, Twitter and umpteen other Internet revolutions, its just 24%.  Sail a few thousand miles across the Pacific and you’ll find 76% of social media users are creating.  More than three quarters!  After decades, Chinese citizens finally have a voice, and they’re making the most of it…

International Creativity Online



The Weibo Facts: