How to choose the best Chinese social media platforms for your Western brand

Wondering how to choose the best Chinese social media platforms for your brand? Our guide will get you started!

Why Chinese social media marketing matters

For Western brands marketing in China, it is essential to master Chinese social media marketing for success. The Chinese absolutely love social media and their platforms are hugely sophisticated (arguably more so than Western equivalents in some cases) – and equally varied.

We may have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest in the West, but in China, these aren’t accessible. However, there are dozens of dazzling and incredibly high-tech Chinese social media platforms; often with millions of users. Remember that the scale of digital adoption in this vast nation is staggering in its own right, with around 800 million internet users in China, the vast majority of which will access their preferred social platforms via their smartphones.

As well as having access to a broader range of local Chinese media social platforms, Chinese users will often use them in more varied ways, making the most of the greater range of functionalities on offer to do anything from posting their own edited videos, to shopping within the app, sharing product recommendations within a private group, swapping branded stickers for a competition or finding out which products their favourite KOL is showcasing.

So which are the best Chinese social media platforms for your brand?

The answer to this question lies in the nature of your brand, your target audience and your own marketing objectives and budget. At Market Me China we always recommend developing your Chinese social media strategy as part of your broader Chinese marketing strategy. This will ensure that everything you do online is integrated and well-managed for the best possible ROI. For example, if you launch an advertising campaign or a KOL sponsorship arrangement on a Chinese social media platform, then you will want to ensure that your website is optimised for referral traffic.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the main Chinese social media sites and consider which are the best Chinese social media platforms for your brand.

The main Chinese social media platforms

The platforms you may already have heard of are WeChat, Weibo and DouYin (or TikTok.) There tends to be a ‘Big Five’ that most Western brands should consider:


WeChat, owned by Tencent, is a powerful and integrated app that combines an impressive array of functionality onto the one platform – including social media, taxi, food and services bookings, banking, shopping, bill payments, step tracking, videos, networking, gaming and more. With over a billion users and over 92% of the base checking in daily, WeChat is a social media network that Western brands can’t ignore. In fact, it’s already used by 92% of the biggest global brands for marketing purposes, and smaller Western brands are getting involved too.

As a brand, you can use WeChat in various ways. You can create a follower base, advertise and create mini-apps for example. A HE institution might use WeChat for student recruitment and for virtual orientation experiences. Travel companies might use the QR coding for translation services or to share travel schedules. ECommerce providers might host mini-apps for direct sales, using the WeChat Pay system.


Sina Weibo is similar to Twitter and a hugely powerful microblogging platform. Again, Western brands can market with it through KOL influencer campaigns and targeted advertising. It’s a great platform for news sharing, entertainment content and for trend-spotting and its users love the 24-hour stories (similar to Instagram), short videos and live-streaming. It’s great if you want to build awareness of your brand and to build a follower base – especially if you are newer to the Chinese market. You can also sell directly on the platform and use the resource area to create campaigns, launch PPC campaigns and to invite KOLs to express interest in paid partnerships.


YouKu is a video sharing platform like a super-amped version of YouTube, with over 800 million daily views. Again, brands can share rich, targeted and engaging content to build awareness, and run highly targeted advertising campaigns. The latter is ideal for driving qualified traffic to your landing pages and to increase sales, whilst building a pool of engaged leads and customers through a steady programme of interesting content. YouKu is already used quite widely by Western travel, education and e-commerce brands, as it’s particularly good for reaching second and third-tier cities.

Little Red Book

The platform Little Red Book has ‘just’ 200 million Chinese users, but it is growing fast and has two powerful stats for marketers; a 6% share of cross-border e-commerce and an 8% conversion rate. The platform naturally links social media with eCommerce for a rich, engaging and immersive online shopping experience. Users learn about products that they are interested in, swap reviews and comments, and can buy there and then within the app. For this reason, it’s great for all types of e-Commerce brand. Little Red Book has a real sense of quality and trust, with a strong community. Its main user group are highly-connected fashionable and urban females with their own incomes and money to spend. Quality content is key here, and it needs to be beautifully made, and carefully curated to stand out from the crowd. The site is perfect for KOL arrangements, particularly with the low barriers to entry and the high rate of conversion.

Douyin / TikTok

Now also famous in the West, Douyin is a short-video app with a ton of fantastic in-app features, such as stickers, emojis, filters, games, competition and more. It’s integrated seamlessly to both WeChat and Weibo and already has traction across China, including the harder to reach Tier 4 cities. Again, young and educated users love it, and Western brands can see real results with the right campaigns. Half of the content on this platform tends to be branded once you factor in KOLs and there are options to run advertising campaigns, hashtag campaigns, sponsored content and to integrate eCommerce for immediate conversions.

Find out more

Of course, there are dozens of Chinese social media platforms which Western brands can use to target their Chinese audience and to build their brand for conversions. Market Me China is here to help you at every stage – whether you are keen to begin your Chinese social media marketing journey, or need help managing your existing Chinese social media presence. Our team of expert digital marketing professionals work on a flexible basis with your business to achieve measurable results – and we can work virtually too, as required. Please contact us to find out more about how we can help your brand to succeed in China.