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The 8 Top Chinese Social Media Apps, Sites & Platforms 2024

TJ Kiely

Dec 12, 2023

When brands think of social media, they envision building connections with the audience around them. But social media has become quite the global sensation, giving brands more ways to grow their presence across borders. With the rise in Chinese social media, companies have more opportunities than ever to expand their reach.

Similar to its Western counterparts, Chinese social media spans a range of features and purposes. From instant messaging apps to microblogging to discussions and business reviews, brands have an easy “in” into the Chinese market. Plus, all those social media apps mean more paid advertising options! The challenge for brands is knowing which platforms to tap into for their social media publishing strategy.

China is not only the world’s largest social media market - it also boasts an incredibly rich and diverse online landscape.

After all, over five billion Chinese internet users are looking for a place to share their opinions, ask for product recommendations, and connect with others. That’s a lot of content.

While Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter continue to dominate the western world, China has seen the emergence of many innovative new social platforms. This includes video sharing platforms like Douyin, as well as shopping communities like Xiaohongshu.

In this changing environment, global brands looking to build their presence in the Chinese market need to keep a close eye on what’s happening with these platforms.

Let’s look at the top eight Chinese social media apps, sites, and platforms to be aware of in 2024.

Table of Contents:

Group sitting using their phones.

Why Is Chinese Social Media Important for Global Brands?

The numbers tell you everything you need to know.

According to our latest Global Digital Report, more than one billion people in China are now internet users. This amounts to 73.7% of the country’s population.

Compare the US’s estimated 311 million internet users, or 91.8% of its population. While China might not yet have the same market penetration, it has a greater potential for growth.

For example, 90.6% of Chinese people using the internet do so via mobile devices. This makes Chinese social media incredibly immediate and dynamic, with mobile users looking to platforms like WeChat and Weibo for the latest recommendations, testimonials, and tips.

This high mobile penetration also helps drives the performance of massive online events like Alibaba’s Singles Day.

Alibaba Singles Day Promotion

Alibaba employees celebrate 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion US) in Singles Day 2018 sales. Source: CNBC

For global brands, the sheer size of the Chinese consumer market makes it a critical piece of your social media strategy.

Social Media Use in China by the Numbers

Before we dive into the most popular Chinese social media sites, it’s worth asking: Just how big is Chinese social media?


  • Our Digital 2023: China report shows there are nearly 1.03 billion million social media users. That ultimately makes China the largest consumer of social media sites in the world. Also, the number of active users is expected to rise to 1.2 billion by 2027.
  • The average user spends about 119 minutes per day on Chinese social media sites. For comparison, that’s a bit less than the average in the U.S. (which is about 136 minutes per day).
  • About 37% say that keeping in touch with loved ones is their primary reason for using social media.

There’s no doubt social media has seen explosive growth in China in the last few years. And despite the “Great Firewall” that blocks Chinese users from many American social media platforms, USA brands can access top Chinese social media platforms with relative ease.

Get more country-specific data about digital behaviors from our Global Digital Reports.

Smiling woman using her phone.

How People in China Use Social Media

Chinese social media trends and usage are drastically different compared to their Western counterparts. For starters, China’s social media audience is large enough for companies and brands to carve out a following that may be as large as entire countries elsewhere.

There’s also a ton of diversification between the top Chinese social media sites. For example, there may be as many as 10 popular social video sites, but each one caters to a very specific audience.

There are also tons of communication-focused apps, including WeChat, QQ, and MOMO. Each of these has earned its place in the Chinese social media scene.

Many of the popular Chinese social media options take a multipurpose format. WeChat, for instance, is a top choice for messaging, e-commerce, live streaming, playing games with friends, reserving a taxi, and a myriad of other tasks. Users can also download mini-programs (kind of like apps) that run inside the larger WeChat ecosystem.

Of course, this also means that competition is fierce in the Chinese social market. With so many apps and more than three times the user base compared to the United States, brands will need no shortage of creativity to make an impact. 

8 Top Social Media Apps in China

Narrowing down the top Chinese social media apps is no easy feat. There are tons of apps that cater to very specific audiences and do very specific things. And they’re all part of the bigger social media umbrella. But when you can’t be everywhere and need to choose only the best opportunities, a short list of Chinese social media apps can come in handy.

Here’s our list of Chinese social media apps you’ll want to explore:

1. Sina Weibo

Weibo is among the most popular Chinese social media apps, with more than 605 million monthly active users. Owned by Weibo Corporation and sometimes referred to as the Twitter of China, Weibo is a microblogging platform.

However, calling Weibo the "Twitter of China" isn’t exactly accurate. Chinese social media Weibo users can include images and emojis in their content, tag other users, hold one-to-one conversations, create Stories (kind of like Instagram Stories), and add hashtags.

From a business perspective, using Weibo compared to platforms like Baidu and Tencent Weibo makes financial sense. Weibo has a 56% user share of China’s microblogging market, and that figure increases to more than 86% when accounting for on-page time.

2. WeChat

Image of a Wechat on a phone between four people

Another popular Chinese social media app, WeChat is probably one of the most recognizable names in the Western world. This jack-of-all-trades, all-in-one, super app gives users and brands tons of unique functions and features, making it a must for social media marketing.

It’s a ride-hailing app. It’s a direct messaging channel. It's an e-commerce platform. It’s a place for video chats, ticket sales, and so much more. No matter your target audience, you’re likely to find them on WeChat.

Like many other social media apps, WeChat is free to use. However, signing up for an account isn’t so simple. To create your account, you’ll need to find an existing user and scan a QR code they provide to you. 

3. TikTok (aka Douyin)

TikTok app.

Here’s a name you’ll probably recognize if you live outside of China: TikTok. The Chinese version is called Douyin, but if you’re outside of China, you’ll use TikTok.

This social network quickly shot to fame in the USA with its short videos, quirky dances, and loads of easy-to-use video editing features. It’s one of the biggest Chinese social media platforms to date, with more than one billion monthly active users around the world.

This platform thrives on short-form, user-generated video content, often accompanied by music and/or lip-syncing. Despite hailing from China, TikTok offers tons of English-language content and caters to more than 75 languages in 150 countries. Users are mostly Gen-Z and Millennial individuals. Plus, the app has spurred thousands of self-created influencers.

Tip: Read our dedicated blog about "What is TikTok?", learn how to use TikTok for your business, and check out the most important TikTok stats.

4. Tencent QQ

Another micro-blogging site on our Chinese social media list, QQ is owned by Tencent and is similar in function to WeChat. However, a key difference is its signup process – you don’t need to register with a phone number.

What’s more, you can also use QQ as a desktop application, making it more palatable for business professionals.

Tencent video.

5. Baidu Tieba

China’s largest search engine, Baidu, has its own social network named Baidu Tieba. While it might not be well known in Western countries, Baidu Tieba is actually older than Facebook. Its total number of registered internet users has surpassed 1.5 billion, making it a top network for brands to consider.

Since Baidu Tieba has the backing of the search engine Baidu, its content ranks extremely well in search. It’s ideal for keyword-based content, as well as question-and-answer content and interactive content.

6. Tencent Video

Another video-sharing Chinese social media platform, Tencent Video boasts more than 112 million subscribers under its premium offer. It recently overtook its once-stalwart competitor, Alibaba Youku, and now sees more than 443 million monthly active users in China.

However, the platform has endured a tumultuous relationship with the Chinese government. It remains under constant surveillance and has experienced its share of censorship.

7. Zhihu

Zhihu is a question-and-answer social media site. It's similar to Quora in that questions are posted, answered, and edited by members of its community.

Users of Zhihu include entrepreneurs, speakers, and other professionals who aim to showcase their expertise in various subject matters. It's aimed at Chinese netizens and marketed as a source of knowledge. Users can upvote answers they think are the best, which helps those answers (and the users that provided them) gain more exposure. 

Zhihu offers two levels of paid membership, both of which give users access to tons of webinars, e-books, and other content.

8. Little Red Book (aka Xiaohongshu)


Our list of Chinese social media channels wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Little Red Book, or Xiaohongshu. Originally built as a platform for user-generated content, Little Red Book has now become a primary source of information when buying decisions are at stake.

Most Little Red Book users live in first-tier cities (sprawling metros like Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing). Its 450 million registered users post an average of 450,000 times each day. It's more sales-oriented in that many of its users are actively searching for new products and brands.

Overall, content on Little Red Book appears more trustworthy and has become an ideal place to grow brand awareness and word-of-mouth marketing among Chinese consumers. 

How Global Brands Can Leverage Chinese Social Platforms

Chinese social media’s combination of huge user numbers and platform variety presents a significant advertising opportunity for global brands.

Brands and businesses are recognizing this opportunity, and are creating bespoke content for many of these platforms. This includes offering flash sales on WeChat, using KOLs on Xiaohongshu, and targeting Zhihu users with niche product offers.

Here are a few more examples:

Balenciaga WeChat campaign

Balenciaga’s WeChat mini-program offer. Source: Jing Daily

Recently,  Xiaohongshu began offering its a “brand partner platform”, a service where brands can be connected with influencers to arrange for sponsored content.

Since unveiling this service, many luxury brands (including YSL, Shiseido, and Fendi) have entered into official collaborations with KOLs, using Xiaohongshu to drive online interest.

Invest in Chinese Social Media Platforms to Stay Ahead

In this post, we’ve looked in depth at some of the unique features of Chinese social media and have examined eight important social media platforms to watch.

Chinese social media changes everyday. This makes it crucial for global brands to have a detailed understanding of the different platforms available and how they can leverage them.


Thinking about using Chinese social media in your marketing strategy? There’s a wealth of opportunity, and Meltwater can help.