Linlin Xie

Linlin Xie

Twitter ebook to give away: Twitter Omnibus - Royal Schemes on Twitter Marketing

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Google adds Twitter feed in China, again defying that country's rules

March 25, 2010 | 7:33 am
In a move sure to anger Beijing's censors, Google has introduced a real-time Twitter feed on its search results pages -- in effect, lifting a nine-month blackout of the microblogging service in China.

The feed appears alongside search results on Google's Hong Kong-based website, Users in China have been redirected there since Tuesday when Google shuttered its China-based search engine.

The tweets do not show up for all searches, but only for terms that appear to be popular on Twitter. On Thursday morning, that included discussions on such taboo subjects as how to circumvent China's Internet firewall, why Google decided to exit China and a vaccine scandal unfolding in central China.

In another defiant move, Google has also added links on its Hong Kong site to the company's original statement explaining why it was leaving China, but translated into Chinese. The link appears on the home page under the search engine and also as a banner advertisement on some search result pages.

[Updated at 6:05 p.m.: Google said it started rolling out real time search on earlier this month and that it had been fully available for more than a week. "We are constantly releasing new features to international domains as the functionality becomes available and this feature is completely unrelated to the redirection of traffic from to," Google said in an e-mail statement.]

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Chinese Twitter Clients. An interview with the developer of

A few days ago we read about on

It appears to be an exact replica of Twitter in Chinese, with lots of useful added features such as the ability to add photos, shorten urls and use "Sogou cloud" a popular Chinese character IME. Crucially though, this is not a clone, it's a client. You can login using your Twitter account and follow your Twitter stream as though you were on (which is of course blocked in China)

We were intrigued, so we contacted the developer of the client Kevin Deng and asked him a few questions.

Ren Media: Hi Kevin. You built right? Tell us more:

Kevin: Yes, is an interface for Twitter, based on a open-source Twitter web client project named "Twitese" (Twitter + Chinese). I'm just an ex-fanfou user, and in remembrance of I build So there's no confusion, is just a Twitter client.

There are more sites based on Twitese: We developers are friends, too. The main contributor of this project is @bang590 on Twitter.

Ren Media: Do you have a business relationship with, or Wang Xing(founder of Fanfou)?

Kevin: Firstly, has no business relationship with fanfou team. It's just a tiny program I built myself. But now I'm working for the "fanfou team" lead by Wang Xing. I'm a college student in Beijing. I used to be one of the active users of After the closure of, fanfou team started a new site called Meituan ( on March 4th 2010, and it's a Groupon clone in mainland China. I became a marketing intern of since March, 2010.

Ren Media: Are you working with Twitter? Have they contacted you about opening a China site?

Kevin: I don't work for Twitter (the company). By the way, I don't know if Twitter plans to open a China site. You know, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and so many sites are blocked in China. Google has left China mainland too. Therefore I don't think it's a good decision to open Twitter China, unless there is a new , comprehensive and innovative method.

Ren Media: When did you first open

Kevin: was closed on July 7th 2009, and opened in November.

Ren Media: What are your plans for the future?

Kevin: I haven't thought that much, building was just to facilitate Chinese Twitter users, esp. ex-fanfou users. It's public welfare. I don't plan to use this site to get profits. And I'm still making efforts to improve it.

I'm a student major in media (communication), I'm not a computer programming professional. It's a hobby for me to build a PHP dynamic website. So I hope "Twitese" developers be united and work together. Twitese is a good project and easy to install on a server, making people in Twitter-blocking-country easier to login to Twitter. I have used microblogging service for many years. It's a significant invention and an intimate tool for the grassroots.

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Social Media Emergence In China

Social Networking Habits Across Asia-Pacific

ComScore today announced some interesting new statistics about Social Networking Habits across Asia-Pacific.

ComScore’s methodology does not include visits from public access computers such as Internet cafes, mobile phones or PDAs. In many markets, including India, Japan, China, Indonesia and others, many people access the Internet in ways other than a home computer that they own. Nonetheless, ComScore’s statistics are very interesting, particularly when looked at in terms of change over time. A major change being the migration towards Facebook.

Half of Asia’s Internet population visited Social Networking sites in February…
According to ComScore, 50.8 percent of the total online population in the Asia-Pacific region visited a social networking site in February 2010, reaching a total of 240.3 million visitors.

…Facebook dominates…
Not surprisingly, ranked as the top social network across eight markets - Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Local players led in Japan ( and South Korea (CyWorld), while Google-owned Orkut ranked as the top social networking site in India and Yahoo!’s led in Taiwan.

…the Philippines are top users of Social Networks…
In February 2010, Internet users in the Asia-Pacific region averaged 2.5 hours on social networking sites during the month and visited the category an average of 15 times. Across markets, the Philippines showed the highest penetration of social networking usage with more than 90 percent of its entire Web population visiting a social networking site during the month, followed by Australia (89.6 percent penetration) and Indonesia (88.6 percent penetration).

…and the Philippines show the highest level of engagement on Social Networks…
Social networkers in the Philippines also showed the highest level of engagement on social networking sites averaging 5.5 hours per visitor in February, with visitors frequenting the social networking category an average of 26 times during the month. Strong engagement was also exhibited by Internet users in Indonesia (5.4 hours per visitor and 22 visits per visitor), Australia (3.8 hours per visitor and 20 visits per visitor) and Malaysia (nearly 3.8 hours per visitor and 22 visits per visitor).

ComScore’s report can be seen here.

Social Media in Asia - where are the emerging opportunities

Webinar slides:

Social Media Today recently invited me to present on the state of Social Media in Asia. Below are the slides that I presented along with those from fellow presenter Peter Auditore of SAP. Their blog links to an audio recordingof the discussion, which had some great questions.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Social Media in China: The Future

1) Social media will predominate the digital landscape in China.

2) Digital becomes a gateway into and across the Chinese social media networks.

3) Digital will be measured by its effectiveness to influence, contribute, and add value to social media.

4) All leading brands will adopt a Chinese social media strategy or they will lose relevance.

5) All agencies will build dedicated Chinese social media teams.

6) Social media will become the nexus for most digital strategies.

7) Social media will not be seen as a tactical or executional issue but a primary strategic issue.

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8 Essential China Market-Facts

Total consumption of luxury goods in the Chinese market has reached $9.4 billion annually.

China now makes up an eye-popping 27.5 percent of the world's total luxury goods market. It has become the second largest market for luxury groups in the world, after Japan.

Currently China has 825,000 individuals worth more than 10 million yuan, almost $1.5 million in U.S. dollars. China Daily reports that there are 51,000 people with more than 100 million yuan or almost $15 million.

A Yuan billionaire in Beijing consumes $1 million worth of goods a year. One billion yuan equals $146 million.

By 2015 China will rank fourth in the world by number of wealthy households, with a total of 4.4 million. Right now about 80% of wealthy Chinese are aged 18 to 45, compared to 30% in that age group in the U.S.

China's digital music market will be worth $315 million in annual revenue by 2011. This year, sales will grow by 8.2% to $262 million. More than 90% of China's music fans download music from the internet.

China overtook the US as the world’s biggest property investment market last year.

China already consumes twice as much steel as the US, Europe and Japan combined.

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Social networks are key to cracking China

Business social media can unlock the door to the world’s second-largest economy

Written by Wayne Gibbons

A surge in Chinese exports for January has kicked the world’s fastest-growing economy back into life, at least in the eyes of Westerners. But China is still a difficult place to do business. Is there an opportunity for business social networks to break down trade barriers?

China is celebrating its 4,708th year. It is the year of the tiger and the country is safe in the knowledge that its economy is back on track. The trade figures make promising reading. Chinese exports for January are up, manufacturing is at its highest output since August and the service sector is recovering on the back of its traditional industries. Although much of this growth in trade is with non-Western countries, such as Brazil and India, interest in the West has not diminished. The feeling is mutual.

With the growth of domestic consumption, however, Chinese firms have switched emphasis from trading with overseas companies to internal trade. The domestic market has matured and this is attractive for any business outside the region. It also has a huge skilled market of IT programmers who are now starting to compete with India for outsourced software development.

However, trading with China is tricky. Cultural issues, regionalised business practices and ethics and the sheer number of willing business partners are huge barriers to entry.

Derek Ling, head of, China’s largest business social network with more than four million users, claims that service-sector SMEs in China are crying out for links with Western businesses, offering legal advice on business issues, partnerships for the travel industry and local accountancy. Using a social network, he says, is a window on local businesses that previously have been very difficult to reach. Tianji has just launched an English-speaking version of the site to help fuel links with Chinese service-sector businesses. It can unlock doors, but it is up to Western businesses to push them open.

It brings into question the role of social networks in business. For China, social media has been a sticky issue recently. Facebook and Twitter have been banned and a row erupted with Google over privacy, but business social media is different. It is geared towards creating links, developing leads and recommendations for businesses. It is the recommendations that really drive these sites. It is important for CIOs to make a distinction as it is becoming a trend to ban social networking in the workplace.

Social networking has an opportunity to facilitate trade not just in China but in any country. Business social networks can thrive by offering users the ability to establish community trade groups, marrying local expertise with international opportunity. It is a unique position that traditionally would take months, even years to establish, during which time alien firms leave themselves open to abuse from unknown quantities. Business social networking goes some way to limiting the risk by offering a platform for recommendation, but those networks have to have local knowledge, to have been established with local connections in mind. Any international connection is therefore a window of opportunity on an already established community of businesses.

This is where true trade links can be established. For a region such as China it makes more sense than ever to investigate social networks as a first port of call for researching and making new business contacts. Small to medium-sized businesses in particular are recognising the benefits of opening their doors to new opportunities and nowhere is this more evident than in the IT sector.

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10 Chinese websites you must know

Baidu (百度) is the Chinese Google. It dominates Chinese language search with about an 80% market share and is one of the biggest sites worldwide. As a local Chinese site it censors it's search results. Like Google, Baidu offers a number of services apart from search, including Maps, documents, MP3 search, Baidu Space (a social network with over 100 million users) Baidu Encyclopedia, (China's largest encyclopedia by users) and is launching a new video site called in March.

QQ is a portal that runs a number of services, most notably its IM service with over 1 billion registered users and it's social networking service Qzone, which some claim is bigger than Facebook.

Kaixin001 (开心网) is one China's fastest growing Social networking sites (SNS) with 75 million users. It claims to be growing at a rate of 100,000 to 200,000 new user registrations per day Essentially a Facebook clone with applications, gaming, groups and pages. (人人网)is another social networking site similar to Facebook. and is a fierce rival of Kaixin001. claims to have 200 million registered users. It mainly caters for college students, though it is actively looking to expand its reach.

Youku (优酷) was ranked #1 in Chinese Internet video sector in January 2010. Users can upload videos of any length and it's library includes many full length, popular films and TV episodes from the West as well as Chinese content. It's main rival is

Tudou (土豆网) is a video-sharing site and competes directly with Like Youku, users can upload videos of any length. Tudou serves over 100 million videos each day with more than 40,000 new videos published daily.

Tianya (天涯) portrays itself as the "King of the Chinese Internet community". Certainly it's BBS message boards are the most active in China. Every issue under the sun is debated, argued and posted here. Many Chinese internet memes start here and replies to posts can run into the thousands. More than 33 million people across China regularly visit the Tianya forum.

Taobao (淘宝网) is the Chinese Ebay. It is China's largest Internet retail platform , taking up about three-fourths of the market share. Nearly 50% of all Chinese Internet users are registered on Taobao. Alibaba's Jack Ma has said: “eBay may be a shark in the ocean, but I am a crocodile in the Yangtze River. If we fight in the ocean, we lose—but if we fight in the river, we win.”

Douban (豆瓣) is a popular Chinese social media site ( ranked 24th in China) with over 30 million unique users a month. It started about five years ago and has all the now common features of social media sites such as groups, the ability to "friend" others, etc.Douban users tend to be between 20-35 years old and single. Mostly into arts, films, music and culture. The CEO of the site Ah Bei claims that: "Douban has never been an SNS site; it has a community or social networking community. Perhaps it's a social network based on books, or on movies, but Douban is broader than that."

Douban has recently had a redesign, which adopts a Facebook style feed on the frontpage.

Sina (新浪) is reportedly China's largest "infotainment" portal and is third in terms of Traffic Rank within China, behind Baidu and QQ. Sina is popular for news, but also for it's blogs, which are some of the most read in the world. It recently launched a microblogging service (like Twitter) which has proved extremely popular (now the largest micro-blogging site in China) and is growing at a tremendous rate.

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Beating Google in China. A Baidu Story

There's been lot written over the last few days about Google's decision to close it's website and redirect users to There's been a lot of applause for Google's "Stand" against China's censorship laws. However the fact remains that despite Google being "In China" for four years (also censoring don't forget), the American company never managed to catch, let alone overtake it's Chinese rival Baidu. When shut down on Monday, it had less than a third of the market share.

So who are Baidu?

Baidu (百度; pinyin: Bǎidù) is one of China's largest companies and offers a range of Chinese language services, aside from search. It actively censors it's content in line with Chinese government regulations. It's 37-year-old founder and chief executive is Robin Li. Prior to founding Baidu, Robin studied and worked in the USA and Dow Jones and Infoseek are among his previous employers. He established Baidu in 2000 with co-founder Eric Xu and led the company public in 2005, a year before Google's entrance into the Chinese market.

According to Robin Li, the name Baidu has the following meaning:

"Many people have asked about the meaning of our name. 'Baidu' was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one's dream while confronted by life's many obstacles. '...hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos, suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood.' Baidu, whose literal meaning is hundreds of times, represents persistent search for the ideal."

Baidu has it's share of controversy and turmoil over the last ten years, with many attacking both it's lax approach to piracy and it's strong censorship policies. Recently, January saw the departure of two top executives, COO Peng Ye and CTO Yinan Li, both for "personal reasons"

However you have to say the future looks bright for the search giant. It's share price closed over $600 for the first time yesterday and the departure of it's foreign rival gives it plenty of room to breathe. It also has no qualms about complying with government regulations and no Moral Crusade to worry about.

The Baidu Story is certainly not over yet.


Baidu and Google Buzz


"China's largest search engine Baidu seems to rank Google Buzz and Google profiles very highly.

If you have a Google profile try it. Go to and type in your name.

Quite why this is a question for the SEO experts. But certainly ironic given current events."

Building Buzz In China - Social Media Case Study

The case ( I'm going to study here is that they successfully promote a client The Royal Parks to China through Chinese social media. This is how they did it:

  1. "hooked up to a number of Chinese social media/Web2.0/Microblogging/social networking sites like Douban, Sina WeiBo and QQ (Qzone). All of the content on is replicated across these sites. ",
  2. also "actively look to engage users and create Fans/Followers who will engage back. In our opinion it's not just about how many Fans you have, it's about who those Fans are and what they will do for you. Quality is still key in Web 2.0.".
  3. And then, a leading Chinese magazine found them and asked for an article. Once the article online, "it was shared around a number of news portals, blogs and social media sites. Not just by us but by netizens who found the content of the article useful and interesting enough to tell people about it.",
  4. and then "CCTV 2 (Chinese National TV) picked it up and did a feature on it"! That's how it became a very successful campaign in China!
Thus conclusion made: "Proof again, if it were needed, that Social Media is a great way to get a message out and proof that Social Media is a great way to Engage and Connect."

Infographic of the Day: China's Social Media Map


The major players in the U.S. social media world can be counted on one hand: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn. Not so in China, where the country's 300 million online users have a panoply of popular social networks to choose from--and Facebook doesn't even crack the top 10. This map of the Chinese social media landscape was created by the Shanghai-based social network marketing company Zero Degrees (click to enlarge).

Social Networking in China

Twittering Grows in China (but not on Twitter)

Twitter remains blocked in China, but that has not stopped Twitter-like activity.

Similar to other foreign Web 2.0 services that the government keeps out, China’s vibrant web sector has created domestic alternatives.

This graph from CIC Data shows that almost 40% of the online buzz they found around the Toyota recall on the day that Toyota president Akio Toyoda spoke in China about the issue came from Sina’s micro-blog.

Note that this is a measure of volume, not impact. A well considered posting on a particular blog or forum may well have had more impact. But it does show that micro-blogs are growing in importance in China for breaking news events.

As I blogged earlier, the Chinese-language is in some ways better suited to Twitter than English: Twitter in Chinese actually means “Blog”. If you INSIST on looking at Twitter usage in China, here’s a posting I did about the demographics of Twitter users in China.

(Disclosure: I run Ogilvy’s Social Media practice for APAC and in that role have often partnered with CIC on projects.)