As social media becomes a mainstay for B2B companies, many marketing professionals are learning that social media success in Asian markets requires more than posting English-only updates on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. While these U.S.-based sites are very popular in many Asian countries, to reach overseas buyers you may also need to post updates in a country’s native language on these sites – or to use additional social networks that are based in Asia.

Although Facebook is the most popular social network in most of Asia, an infographic by We Are Social Singapore shows that this is not the case in some key Asian markets. This is especially true in China, where the government has blocked access to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Top sites for social media in Asia

While the Line and Kakaotalk messaging apps have overtaken traditional social networks in Japan and South Korea, they offer limited opportunities for B2B marketers. However, Qzone is a social network that you may want to consider if your company does business in China. In fact, according to Adobe, China has three of the world’s largest social networks.

To reach customers and prospects on social media in Asia, you need to know about these types of foreign-based networks – and the countries where they are most popular. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up information about some of the top social media sites in Asia, which include QZone, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Renren.

QZone
With more than 600 million registered users, Qzone is the top social networking website in China. According to Wikipedia, this Chinese-language social network offers capabilities that are similar to social networks in the U.S., including allowing users to write blog posts, watch videos, share photos and listen to music online. Alexa.com reports that QZone is the 7th most popular website in the world and that it receives visits from Internet users in China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Sina Weibo
Another popular social network in Asia is the Chinese microblogging (weibo) website Sina Weibo. With more than 500 million registered users, this network has the same market penetration in China that Twitter has in the United States. Sina Weibo combines the functionality of Facebook and Twitter, including limiting posts to 140 characters. According to Alexa.com, it is the 12th most popular website in the world, with visitors from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.

Tencent Weibo
Tencent Weibo is another popular microblogging site based in China. The network is sometimes called a Twitter clone, because it also:

  • Allows users to share status updates and photos.
  • Has a strict 140-character limit for each update posted.
  • Features a reposting function that is similar to a retweet on Twitter.

Although Tencent Weibo was launched by the founder of QZone to curb competition, the site has already acquired more than 500 million users according to Tech in Asia.

Renren
Described as a “Chinese version of Facebook,” Renren also began as a network for college students. According to Wikipedia, it was formerly called the the Xiaonei Network, which literally means “on-campus network.” Like Facebook, this social media network allows users to create personal profiles and photo albums, send friend requests to their personal connections and participate in social gaming activities on the site. Per Tech in Asia, the site has more than 170 million users.

While it’s important to know about these networks, joining these social media sites will not help your company unless your customers and prospects are active on them! Before establishing a company presence on any social network, be sure to ask your customers in each country which social networks they have joined. You may also want to try searching each network for your SEO keywords to gauge user interest in the products and services that your company offers.