Lau Seng Yee, president of online media business at internet portal Tencent, gave a pretty incredible list of reasons why companies should embrace online media and the digital ecosystem at Ad Age’s Digital Conference, Tuesday.1. China has 513 million online users right now
2. 164,000 new Chinese join the internet every day
3. Approximately 1.3 billion hours are spent online every day in China.
4. China has more Android and iOS subscriptions than the U.S.
5. There were 1.74 billion RMB ($276 million) in sales of virtual goods in China 2011.
6. People take social media seriously: He cited a negative review of a refrigerator that was retweeted 170 times.
7. About 370,000 people are playing mahjong online at any time (we’re sure someone will find that useful.)
That’s pretty impressive for a country that, according to Lau, offered its first in-home telephone land lines a mere 17 years ago, Lau said.
China has a tradition of Guanxi, which translates to chain of connection. While the word has traditionally referred to the connection that people make in person, “the internet has unleashed the power of guanxi,” Lau said. “It has redefined everything we have known about connections … there are no more strangers in the world.”
It’s also changed social dynamics: “Consumers are now the emperors,” Lau said.
Of course, there is the itty-bitty problem that there isn’t free speech or transparency in China. Earlier this month, the government shut down 16 websites, including two sites that are similar to Twitter that had 250 million-plus users.
According to Dr. John A. Quelch, professor of international management and dean of the China Europe International Business School, however, “We have had such an explosion of internet activity in the last five to 10 years that it is almost impossible for any government agency to put a lid on what goes on.”
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