Social media and brand building in China

By Ai-Leen Lim

Chinese social media platforms are proving an inexpensive and extremely effective way of promoting brands. Western companies would be well advised to start building a social media profile for their brands, although not before investigating the attendant risks

China has over 632 million internet users, of whom some 257 million are active social media users. Although popular Western social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, Chinese companies have developed China-friendly versions of these applications, such as Weibo and WeChat, which are widely used in China. As of July 2014, there were around 275 million Weibo users and 438 million WeChat users. With such a huge base of young and affluent consumers, these platforms have become an essential marketing tool for brands operating in China. However, the use of social media marketing comes with the potential risks of trademark infringement and dilution by third-party participants on these platforms.

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