People around the world are used to logging into their social platforms on a daily basis. Chinese people are no different. However, due to the different political systems, China has strict censorship on the internet so almost all western forms of social media are banned. So if you aren’t familiar with Chinese culture, it’s not your fault since you don’t have a chance to register as a user of any Chinese social media platforms.
So how do the Chinese develop their social life on the internet? How would you become a part of this network?
I want to write about this topic because many of my friends said to me that they saw me sending messages with gifs, emojis and voice notes through Chinese apps, while they were still sending black and white text messages. Then I just directly introduced them to some Chinese media platforms that I used which are interesting, popular, and fun to play with as well as offering them a great convenient opportunity to learn Chinese.
This article will give a brief introduction of the top 10 popular social media platforms in China and how to make an account on one of these platforms. These networks are the most basic ones that help you to improve reading skills, make Chinese friends, understand modern Chinese culture, and enjoy a better life in China.
How do people use social media platforms in China?
Social media platforms aren’t just for entertainment. There are many benefits they can bring to users. All the below 10 social media platforms will be beneficial for you to study Chinese no matter which level you’re at.
- You can practice in small chunks, writing perhaps a sentence now and then. This means that you don’t have to amass the courage needed to write a blog post or an article, which is difficult for most people. It allows you to take baby steps and still come a long way. (E.g. Posts on Sina Weibo are limited to 140 characters.)
- You can see spoken Chinese in a written form. Most people use fairly colloquial language when they chat online. This is a veritable gold mine of useful phrases! On Zhi hu, read what the Chinese are talking about among themselves, and try to pick up some useful words and phrases. I can promise that even if you’re an advanced student, you will still find much you didn’t know.
- You can use Chinese in a relaxed environment with more time available. If you’re using Chinese with someone you don’t feel very confident with, or if you haven’t studied for a long time, you’re likely to make lots of mistakes simply because talking has to occur at a certain pace to be interesting. If you chat online, you have time to think things through a bit more carefully. This will later help you increase fluency when you talk.
Top 10 popular Chinese social media platforms
1. Tencent QQ | 腾讯QQ (Téngxùn QQ)
Tencent QQ was launched by Tencent in 1999, and its average daily active users reached 170 million in 2017. Its traditional functions are text, voice, video chat, and release status on QQ space. Now it includes online games, file sharing, cloud hard drives, mailboxes, forums and other integrated services.
How to use QQ?
Step 1: Download QQ
You can download the application from the App store.
(You can directly download it from your app store without changing to the Chinese store).
Step 2: Open the QQ
When opening the QQ app, you’ll notice that it’s in Chinese and can’t be translated to English. Don’t worry, with our help, you can smoothly cross the language barrier.
The first thing you need to do is accept the service agreement by clicking on the option in the right-hand corner of the pop-up window, pictured below:
Step 3: Start the registration process
Click on the “Register” option on the home screen. It’s the option to the left in the white square!
Step 4: Enter your mobile number
At this stage, you’ll need to confirm your mobile number so that QQ can verify your account.
Enter it into the field below, choose your country code from the drop-down menu, tick the confirmation box, and click “OK”.
Top tip: If you’re finding it difficult to choose your country code because of the Chinese interface, head over to Google translate and translate your country’s name into simplified Chinese. Copy the translation, and then paste it into the country code search bar. You’ll then be left with the relevant country code to select.
Step 5: Complete the authentication process
Simply slide the puzzle piece into place using your touchscreen.
Step 6: Confirm your mobile number
In the pop-up window, click the option in the blue box to confirm your mobile number.
Step 7: Enter the verification code sent to your mobile device
Once you’ve confirmed your number, you’ll then be sent a text containing a one-time passcode. Enter this in the field below:
Step 8: Choose a username and password
Finally, create your username and password by typing them into the fields below. The username goes first, then the password in the space underneath. Then, click “Register” (the outlined box) and your QQ account will be ready to use.
Step 9: How to create a QQ account in English via the QQ website
If you’d rather sign up for QQ using your computer, that’s fine, too. It’s much easier, as the desktop interface is available in English. Hooray!
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 10: Go to QQ’s desktop registration page
Now, you can simply sign up for QQ and enjoy your journey.
Remember: By simply starting the process to register a Chinese social media platform, you have already learned many new Chinese phrases.
I have used Tencent QQ as an example, now try to register with the rest of these 9 apps and practice the Chinese you learned above.
If you just want a list of helpful social media vocabulary, go ahead and scroll to the bottom!
2. WeChat | 微信 (Wēixìn)
WeChat was launched by Tencent in 2011. Currently, it’s one of the Chinese social media platforms that has the largest number of users. Its core functions are three social applications based on acquaintances, including instant messaging, Moments of Friends, and We-Media.
With the development of mobile communications and the Internet, WeChat now has developed into an interactive platform that integrates social networking, shopping, payment, games, reading, entertainment, sports, financial management, and so on. It’s the app you’ll use if you live in urban China.
3. Sina Weibo | 新浪微博 (Xīnlàng Wēibó)
Weibo, launched in 2009, is often called the “Chinese Twitter”. It’s a platform for microblogging where users can network with friends, keep up to date with the news, connect with celebrities and influencers, and research brands and products. Weibo users can share text, images, videos, and live streams. Messages just need to fit within the 140-character limit. It’s a great app for you to understand what people in China are interested in.
4. DouYin | 抖音 (Dǒuyīn)
Douyin is a platform for short videos that has about 600 million daily active users in 2021. This social media platform is a lot like TikTok, and both apps are owned and developed by the same company, ByteDance.
TikTok users will recognize Douyin’s interface. Like TikTok, Douyin is a platform for videos that are 15 or 60 seconds long. Users can create, edit, and share videos and live streams. Just spruce up your videos with some music and filters, and your video is ready for sharing with your friends.
5. Zhihu | 知乎 (zhī hū)
When you have a question, most people turn to their friends or search on Google. However, millions of people in China turn to Zhihu. “Zhihu” is a classical Chinese word that translates literally to “Do you know?” It’s a comprehensive Chinese Q&A platform where questions are posted, answered, liked, and shared by its community of users.
6. Honor of Kings | 王者荣耀 (wáng zhě róng yào)
If you like playing games and you want to know the youth culture and young people, I would like to introduce this game to you, so that you can make new friends and learn Chinese while playing games.
Honor of Kings is a multiplayer online battle arena. Since it was released in 2015, it has become the hottest MOBA game in mainland China. An international adaptation, titled Arena of Valor, was released in October 2016; it utilizes the same game engine and UI design but with greatly altered heroes to accommodate the Western market. By 2017, Honor of Kings had over 80 million daily active players and 200 million monthly active players and was among the world’s most popular and one of the highest-grossing games of all time as well as the most downloaded app globally. In the break between each game, it has created a social platform for team players to communicate with each other on topics such as game rules, roles, strategy, etc., and also become a natural gathering place for the new young generation.
7. Red | 小红书 (xiǎo hóng shū)
Xiaohongshu literally means “Little Red Book”. This is a really interesting platform that seems to combine “Pinterest and Amazon” together.
We highly recommend checking out this really unique platform. Just so you know, it’s definitely targeted towards female users (and 88% of its user base is female).
8. Bilibili | 哔哩哔哩 (bīlībīlī)
Bilibili (nicknamed B Site (B站) in China), is a Chinese video-sharing website, themed around animation, comics, and games, where users can submit, view, and add overlaid commentary on videos. This platform uses Adobe Flash or HTML5 player to play user-submitted videos hosted by either itself or third-party sources, featuring a scrolling “bullet curtain” 弹幕(dàn mù) commenting system.
9. Meituan | 美团 (Mĕituán)
Meituan is a Chinese shopping platform for locally found consumer products and retail services including entertainment, dining, delivery, travel, and other services. It offers deals of the day by selling vouchers on local services and entertainment.
In 2015, Meituan merged with Dazhong Dianping and changed its name to “Meituan-Dianping”. dianping.com (大众点评网 Dàzhòng diǎnpíng wǎng, literally “public reviews net”) hosts consumer reviews of restaurants, similar to Yelp and TripAdvisor, and also offers group buying similar to Groupon. Meituan then became one of the world’s largest online and on-demand delivery platforms. It’s a platform you shouldn’t miss if you live in China.
10. Tou tiao | 今日头条 (Jīn rì tou tiáo)
Toutiao is a news distribution app that focuses on providing all kinds of information using complex algorithms. The AI will first analyze each user regarding their locations, click, and browser history. Toutiao then recommends the best-fit articles and videos to users accordingly.
Toutiao adopts a different style of giving the news to people. Additionally, they provide short videos, funny jokes, and featured articles to keep users entertained.
These 10 Chinese social media platforms cover almost all aspects of your daily life. You can finally learn Chinese and live like a Chinese person in China.
Here’s a bonus for you, a vocabulary list covers terms related to social media.
|注册||Zhù cè||to register|
|登入||Dēng rù||to login|
|取关||Qǔ guān||to unfollow (on social media)|
|追踪||Zhuī zōng||to follow|
|外卖||Wài mài||Food delivery (Take out)|
|上传||Shàng chuán||to upload|
|赞助||Zàn zhù||to sponsor|
|网红产品||Wǎng hóng chǎn pǐn||influencer products|
|美妆博主||Měi zhuāng bó zhǔ||beauty blogger|
|摄像头||Shè xiàng tóu||webcam|
|数码产品||Shù mǎ chǎn pǐn||digital/tech goods|
|包裹||Bāo guǒ||to wrap up, package, parcel|
|亚马逊||Yà mǎ xùn||Amazon|
|差评||Chà píng||negative review|
|好评||Hǎo píng||positive review|
|关键词||Guān jiàn cí||keyword|
|关注||Guān zhù||to pay attention to|
|公众号||Gong zhòng hào||public|
|点赞||Diǎn zàn||to like (a post online)|
|朋友圈||Péng yǒu quān||moments (on wechat)|
|隐私设置||Yǐn sī shè zhì||privacy setting|
|屏蔽设置||Píng bì shè zhì||blocking settings|
|微信钱包||Wēi xìn qián bāo||WeChat Wallet|
|转发||Zhuǎn fā||to forward|
|秒怕||Miǎo pāi||app to record videos|
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