Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
With over 1.3 billion native speakers, Chinese and its variants are by far the most commonly spoken language in the world. For those interested in entering the magical world of Chinese, internet platforms offer a way for learners to connect with native speakers and hone their language skills. Let’s explore some of the most popular internet platforms in China.
The most widely known Chinese app, WeChat is a messaging app with social media elements incorporated into its interface. WeChat boasts nearly 1.2 billion users, at least 100 million of whom are registered outside of China’s national borders. Because of the platform’s popularity, it’s a common means of business communication, making it the perfect place to develop your intercultural business communication skills while connecting with native Chinese speakers.
For social media marketing, WeChat is the best way to reach Chinese consumers. It’s your one-stop shop for Chinese social media, where you can even learn how to take a selfie while making use of Chinese vocabulary! The app also includes fun features that allow you to find people in your vicinity or send messages to be picked up by strangers nearby.
Youku Tudou 優酷
The Chinese equivalent of YouTube is Youku Tudou, a platform for streaming videos. The company is divided into two services. Youku specializes in short-form content, similar to YouTube, while Tudou historically focuses primarily on full-length films, much like Netflix or Hulu. The company has expanded rapidly over the past few years as Chinese users have spent increased time watching videos and movies on mobile devices.
Baidu Tieba 百度贴吧
Since 2003, Baidu Tieba has hosted an online community where users can search for forums of interest and join groups known as “bars.” A bar can be created if one is not already in existence, although with more than 8 million bars currently online, there are plenty of options to choose from. This Reddit-like forum is where users can interact with like-minded people and engage in communities centered upon a variety of topics, including celebrities, books, and films. Baidu Tieba allows users to post text, video, photos, and polls. There are even group moderators that ensure no subversive content is published.
Sina Weibo 新浪微博
Although its peak has passed, Sina Weibo is still widely used in China, with over 222 million active daily users. Its functions allow users to post in a format similar to Twitter, but it doesn’t stop there. Sina Weibo also hosts games, music, and charities. Using a platform like Sina Weibo or one of its cousins, you can brush up on your social media vocabulary, learning words like pictures (照片 zhào piàn) and username (用户名 yònghù míng).
An interesting addition to the list is Renren, a social networking site predominantly used by students, mainly university students. Users can register their accounts to connect to their middle school, high school, university, and hometown. With plenty of profile personalization options, Renren offers users the chance to blog, update their status and mood, and share photos, videos, and articles.
Tencent QQ (“QQ”) 腾讯QQ
Last but not least is QQ, a web portal and instant messaging service. As the world’s 5th most visited website, accounts are available for Windows, Android, and iOS. For non-native Chinese speakers, an interesting feature of the platform is its English-language portal, which supports users speaking English, French, Spanish, German, and a handful of other languages. QQ International offers automated translation services. These services are some of the many types of technologies available for people hoping to connect with long-distance relatives and friends while simultaneously participating in a language exchange.
Just like its American counterpart, the technology industry in China has created myriad social media and internet platforms. Each is unique to its builders as well as its audience, catering to various users from students to journalists. As with any SM platform, it’s up to the needs of the user to decide which of these intriguing selections will help them with their goals, whether those are business or language learning.