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User habits on different Chinese social media platforms

This blog post was updated on 8 August 2023.

China’s social media landscape is thriving, but it looks so very different from anywhere else in the world that marketers who are unfamiliar with it often struggle to succeed.

Many Western social platforms are banned in China, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, WhatsApp, YouTube and others.

Instead, local Chinese companies have developed their own social platforms which contribute to China’s thriving digital ecosystem. Five of the biggest Chinese social platforms are WeChat, Weibo, Zhihu, Little Red Book (also known as Xiaohongshu) and Douyin.

I have written an in-depth guide for marketers on how to succeed using these five popular Chinese social media platforms, which you can download using the link below, if you are interested!

In this blog post, I want to take some of the insights from the guide and teach you about the different user habits on the different Chinese social media platforms, as well as my top marketing tips on how to succeed by tailoring your approach to meet each audience’s needs and expectations. Without further ado, let’s get into it!


What is it?

WeChat is a lifestyle app. It was launched as a messenger app initially, but soon grew into an app that covered many functions beyond simply messaging and social media. In China, WeChat can displace Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Uber, PayPal, Groupon and much more. Within the app, it is possible to message friends, share photos, order takeaways, book tickets, book hotel rooms, shop online, order professional services, leave business reviews, donate to charities, pay utility bills – and that barely scratches the surface.

User habits:

  • Looking for one-stop service
  • Seeking immersive reading

Top marketing tips:

  • Provide a high level of customer service
  • Create lengthy and in-depth content


What is it?

Weibo is sometimes referred to as the “Twitter of China” as it is a real-time microblogging social platform. However, in reality, it is much more than that. It is a bit like a hybrid of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – but with many of its own unique features. You can view Weibo as a huge traffic generation centre. Brands can utilise Weibo to drive traffic to their website or to their other social accounts.

User habits:

  • Actively searching for up-to-date information
  • Looking to actively engage with other users and brands

Top marketing tips:

  • Create short and lifestyle content
  • Collaborate with influencers
  • Conduct engagement campaigns to engage with your followers


What is it?

Zhihu is a question-and-answer (Q&A) platform. What sets it apart from other Q&A platforms, which mostly focus on quick questions, is that Zhihu is a place for users to find in-depth answers and analysis. Many white-collar professionals use Zhihu to find in-depth knowledge related to their industry. In addition to being a Q&A platform, you can also think of Zhihu as a social platform that allows users from different industries to exchange ideas.

User habits:

  • Looking for answers from experts
  • Exchanging ideas and thoughts with other professionals

Top marketing tips:

  • Create long and educational content to build up your authority
  • Answer questions related to your industry

Little Red Book (also known as Xiaohongshu)

What is it?

Little Red Book is like a combination of Pinterest, Instagram and a short video platform. It is one of the most-trusted social shopping platforms in China. What do I mean by a “social shopping” platform? Well, it is a combination of a social network and an e-commerce platform, where users can share social posts as well as shop for products.

User habits:

  • Actively searching for reviews and tips

Top marketing tips:

  • Create short and lifestyle content reviewing your products or services
  • Share positive reviews that customers have posted on Little Red Book


What is it?

Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok. Many of its users are millennials or Gen Z. Compared to TikTok, Douyin has more advanced features, such as the fact you can integrate your website and e-commerce platform inside Douyin, which makes it easier for you to sell your products or services via Douyin.

User habits:

  • Actively seeking creative and short videos

Top marketing tips:

  • Create creative and lifestyle videos to promote your products or services
  • Follow trends when creating videos
  • Collaborate with influencers

Want to learn more?

I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to Chinese social media. For more in-depth information and advice, read my full-length guide here. From reading this guide, you will learn how to successfully utilise five of the most popular Chinese social media platforms in order to boost your business in China. The platforms covered in this guide are:

  • WeChat
  • Weibo
  • Zhihu
  • Little Red Book (also known as Xiaohongshu)
  • Douyin
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Kylie Wang

Business Solutions Executive at Webcertain
Kylie is a Business Solutions Executive at Webcertain. She is an enthusiastic and experienced digital marketer with particular specialties within paid media, international marketing strategies, and integrated marketing communications. She has a strong global mindset and is an enthusiastic follower of current global marketing trends. Kylie is originally from China and now lives in the UK, having moved there to obtain a Master’s degree in Marketing from Durham University. She speaks Chinese and English, and has a strong understanding of both Western and Chinese markets. Kylie has experience in a diverse range of channels, including Baidu, Google, WeChat and Weibo.

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