We may think that our search and social networks are dominating across the entire world, especially with their huge database of users:
Monthly unique Google searchers: 1.17billion
Monthly active Facebook users: 1.23billion
Monthly active Twitter users: 241million
These search and social platforms aim to connect people across the world, but they still lack presence in certain countries. For example, North Korea, Iran and Cuba have blocked most social media sites including Facebook. However, there is a huge market still untapped, pulled out from or avoided by these search and social giants. That is China.
China has a population of 1.351 billion people, and 618 million internet users at the end of 2013. With its huge number of internet users, it serves as a huge potential market for Google and the likes. Unfortunately, Google has once tried to serve the Chinese population but pulled out of China in 2013 to avoid censorship issues. The competition within China is extremely strong too, as China’s native search and social services such as Weibo and Baidu have already amassed massive user bases.
While it seems like the China market is out of reach to most non-Chinese search and social giants, LinkedIn has penetrated the market and quietly accumulated 4 million users in the country (Read more). This is an interesting move by LinkedIn that may attract the search and social giants’ attention, as it fills up the gap in professional social networking within China. Will LinkedIn go for a more domestic strategy to focus on localization within China specifically? Will it face similar censorship issues? Or will one of China’s native social giant step in to compete in professional publishing platforms too?