Report: China Social Networking Companies See Significant Increases

Chinese social networking is skyrocketing on PC and mobile, according to recent data from iResearch Consulting Group.

Market research firm iResearch, which focuses on China's Internet industry, found that social networking service (SNS) penetration now reaches 94% of users on desktop. SNS is now the fourth-largest source of traffic online after instant messaging, online video, and search, according to the data. Specifically, monthly unique visitors of SNS hit 441 million in May 2013, up 1.1% from a year earlier.

SNS has seen marked increases on mobile. When compared to August 2012, monthly time spent on mobile SNS has increased 77.7%, according to iResearch, while PC SNS decreased 34.3%. Including microblogging into the mix, iResearch found similar results, with microblog app traffic increasing more than 40% as users continued to switch platforms.

As of May 2013, monthly time spent on PC and mobile for SNS were 74% and 26%, respectively. For microblogging, it was 59% and 41%, respectively. iResearch says that SNS users prefer PC usage as it offers more features like photo albums, blogs, and games. Given the nature of microblogs to relay information, the firm recommends that microblog companies improve their mobile experience.

When looking at specific companies, iResearch found that Tencent leads the app rankings. As of May 2013, Tencent's WeChat hit 440 million hours spent per month, an increase of 2.5 times over the 130 million hours spent in August 2012.  SINA comes in second with its Weibo platform. Compared to August 2012, Weibo saw an increase of 49.3% to 170 million hours per month spent.

Looking forward, iResearch says that WeChat has and will continue to "exert its influence on the SNS" industry as it's a "comprehensive" SNS product combining social features with instant messaging.

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