REPORT: China Will Have 265 Million Social Network Users This Year

Despite not being able to access Facebook or Twitter, social media fans are abundant in China. So much so, that 265 million Internet users in the country are expected to use a social network this year, according to an eMarketer report.

That staggering figure would represent a 28% increase over the number of users in 2010. By 2015, it is estimated that China will have 488 million social network users.

The report adds that social network users in China are followers of official brand and product websites, including microblogs. In fact, a survey indicated that interacting with a brand was one of the most popular social network activity, tied for second with sharing links.

What’s remarkable about the prevalence of social media activity in the county is that it has happened without the two biggest dogs in the yard being a part of it. Chinese authorities blocked both Facebook and Twitter in 2009 and the sites are still unavailable (I confirmed this by running a check on WebSitePulse). However, both companies are eager to gain a foothold in a country which has more than 1.6 billion citizens. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a great interest in China and visited the country in December, which sparked rumors of a Facebook expansion there. However, the world’s biggest social network has yet to find its way into the world’s biggest online market.

What do you think of these stats? Do they surprise you?

[Image Credit: flickr, peterfuchs]

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