Data recently released from The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) – a state-supported research organization – revealed that the number of microblog users topped the number of social network users in China in December 2011. According to the “29th Statistical Report on Internet Development in China,” there were 513.1 million internet users, 249.9 million microblog (aka “weibo”) users and 244.2 million social network site users in China in December 2011.
The number of microblog users in China increased a whopping 296% in 2011, according to the report. Social network user growth was even slower than the growth of general internet users, showing a decline in total penetration for social networks in China (eMarketer).
But according to eMarketer, these growth levels are unlikely to continue. “Regulators are rolling out real-name registration requirements to tighten control over popular social media services, which will likely deter new (and multiple) signups.”
How will social networking and microblogging growth continue to play out in countries where social media platforms are heavily regulated by the government?