Evolution of Chinese Social Media

In 1957, Mao Zedong ordered the Chinese media to follow the policy of «new news, old news and no news.» To defend China from the perceived aggression of US and Japanese imperialism, Mao argued that: some news had to be published immediately, some after a long time, and some simply never. Information that was «harmful» to the government had to be blocked. This policy showed the importance for the Chinese government of controlling information flows as a political strategy.

 

It is curious that more than 60 years later, and despite being a more suitable strategy for periods of war, rather than peace, Mao’s policy has inspired China’s regulation of information on the Internet. Where information that is perceived to endanger the stability of the state is immediately censored by the government.

 

In any case, the omnipresent presence of the state in all the daily activities of Chinese citizens includes the digital world.

 

We can see it in the following graph, which is an attempt to chronology the evolution of Chinese social media and in parallel the resources and efforts that the Chinese government has put to control and regulate them.

Understanding Social Media in China

No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube. Listing the companies that don’t have access to China’s social media space underscores just how different it is from those of many Western markets. Understanding that space is vitally important for anyone trying to engage Chinese consumers.