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Will Chinese social networks take over from Facebook?

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There have been rumblings for a while about social networks from China looking to attract worldwide teens and adults, but how realistic is this? Not very, says Quib.ly contributor Adam Boult.

Just as Facebook would love to break into the Chinese market, China’s growing internet giants are vying for Zuckerberg’s crown. Whether any of them will manage to get it is, in reality, unlikely. But why?

These Chinese sites boast wealth, technological know-how, huge memberships and a desire to grow – but since they’re starting at a total remove from Western markets, hindered not just by a language barrier, but a whole different alphabet.

China has a number of sites that could theoretically be rivals to Facebook. QZone is the largest, boasting a breathtaking subscriber-base approaching 400 million; Sina Weibo is similar to Twitter, but has twice as many users; and the Foursquare-like Jeipang. And then there’s Renren (translation: ‘everybody’s website’), a ballsy remake of Facebook itself.

Loads of us remain on the lookout for the ‘next big thing’ – remember how Friendster and MySpace both ballooned in popularity before suddenly falling by the wayside? – but none of those sites had anything like Facebook’s staggeringly dominant global position.

The global map above illustrates Facebook’s dominance – it looks like the final stages of a game of Risk. Even Google’s attempt to muscle in on the game, Google+, hasn’t been quite the killer app they were expecting. To say the least.

So, while these upstarts from overseas are certainly worth keeping an eye on, the chances that your teenager will be quitting Facebook for one of them are, for the time being, fairly remote.

Do your children access websites from other countries? Do you think any of the giants from China could trouble Facebook in English-speaking territories?

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This entry was posted on October 23, 2012 by in Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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