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There are various popular social media platforms in Asia. However, usage and popularity vary significantly between countries.
We are all too familiar with some of the most recognised social media networks in the western world, but many of these channels may be inaccessible to some of the world’s largest markets.
Even though China is a powerhouse in the Asian economy, the likes of Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are not easily accessible due to censorship laws that exist in the country. Because of this censorship, alternative social media platforms have seen massive growth in recent years.
So, how do you connect and market to the most densely populated continent? Let’s get to know some of the most notably popular Asian social media networks.
With around 1.3 billion active users, WeChat has quickly become one of Asia’s most popular social media platforms. WeChat has many features but is predominantly a messaging service with around 38 billion messages sent daily. But its features extend beyond that:
- Messaging – not only can the app send and receive text and visual messages along with voice recordings and videos, but it also has a call and video-call feature widely used by companies to communicate internally.
- Social network – you can even follow celebrities and brands on WeChat, keeping up to date with their posts and sharing content. The social feed through WeChat is called Moments.
- Payment services – the platform also allows you to make digital payments online and in-store for goods and services and send and receive money.
- City services – this feature within the app allows you to access the services available in each city, i.e. taxi bookings, food delivery, doctor appointments, etc.
Weibo means ‘microblog’ in Chinese, which is the core of their features. The platform has already reached over 584 million users and is often seen as China’s most influential social network. Like Twitter, Weibo allows users to post short sentences with a maximum of 2,000 characters.
Three years after its launch, the platform had evolved into a more well-rounded microblogging platform that included imagery and video. Weibo is continually evolving and has even made some strategic changes to encourage users to stay on the platform for longer by launching an online game centre.
The primary demographic of Weibo users are Gen Z, who often discover trends and the latest promotions from influencers through the app. The app has seen plenty of successful marketing campaigns and is considered one of the most effective marketing platforms.
LINE is a Japanese messaging app that is popular across Asia. Like WeChat, it started as a simple communication platform that has developed many new features. After adding payment options, LINE developed LINE Taxi for cab requests and automatic payment. More recently, they have developed LINE Wow, which provides premium food delivery, and is a significant competitor to Uber Eats in Japan.
SNOW is a South Korean messaging and multimedia app. The app is only a few years old and is quickly gaining traction as one of Asia’s most diverse photo-sharing apps. SNOW has a similar foundation and basis to Snapchat. What separates the apps is SNOW’s myriad of filters and stickers, which incorporate augmented reality.
QQ is a cross-platform instant messaging and VoIP software service developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent. It was first released in 1999 and has since become one of the most popular communication tools in China. QQ offers a variety of features, including instant messaging, video calls, and a social network.
QQ has various additional features, including games, music, and a news feed. The platform is accessible on multiple devices, including computers, mobile phones, and tablets. It is free to use, but users can purchase premium features and services.
KakaoTalk is a free mobile messaging app that allows users to send and receive messages, photos, videos, and voice messages. While the app is mainly used in South Korea, it’s also popular in other countries throughout Asia.
In addition to messaging and voice and video calls, KakaoTalk also offers features such as a social network, gaming, and even a payment system.
While Youku isn’t a social media platform, it still deserves a spot on this list due to its sheer number of users.
Owned by Alibaba Group, Youku is one of the most popular video hosting and streaming platforms in China, alongside TikTok (Douyin in China) and Bilibili. Youku offers a wide range of content, including movies, TV shows, news, sports, and music. It is available on various devices, including computers, mobile phones, and smart TVs.
Youku is free to use, but it also offers paid subscription services that give users access to additional content and features.
Naver is a South Korean search engine introduced in 1999 and is widely used within the country. It has since evolved from a search engine and offers two social media services, Naver Cafe and Naver Blog.
- Naver Cafe is a forum where you can post content and engage with other users reading your posts or vice versa.
- Naver Blog is the more popular platform where users spend their time reading blogs daily, from personal to business profiles.
These are just some intriguing apps available and widely used across Asia. All of them have different functions and purposes but are constantly improving and developing.
When choosing from the apps available, you must consider the audience for your brand. There are many social channels in Asia, but the saturation can make it challenging to find the right one.
It’s essential to consider who you are trying to reach, how you will reach them within the app, and what tailored content you can produce to keep them engaged when choosing your Asian social media networks.