With the fast development of the Internet and technology, social media have a significant role in Chinese users’ minds. Social media are the foundation of the rise of mobile e-commerce and e-commerce in general.  More and more companies are doing online business through social media because the number of social media users are still increasing until now. The development of China’s social media is different from that of America. In 1998, Chinese government enacted the law to protect local commerce and internet moral through building The Great Fire Wall. Since that moment, Chinese internet and social media were isolated from the global-scale social media. Chinese government totally controlled the access of the internet. Although Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google (left China’s market few years ago) cannot be used in China the increasing number of social media were created by Chinese companies and became popular.
The examples of China’s social media, which are most commonly used right now are QQ, WeChat, and Sina Weibo. Almost every Chinese people have these three social media accounts because these three ones have become parts of people’s life. QQ and WeChat were released by Tencent whose stock price is higher than Facebook right now. QQ and WeChat provides mobile text and voice messaging communication services. QQ is often used on the desktop because it is not only used for chatting but also used to listen to music, play games, and write blogs, to name but a few. QQ has approximately 800 million users right now. Compared with QQ, WeChat is more commonly used on mobile phone. Users can share photos, short videos, and words with their friends in its featured service called “Moments”. Users can also press ‘like’ or add comments for others’ pictures or words. Based on my own experience, WeChat contains the services from WhatsApp, Twitter, Line and some parts of Facebook. Last but not least, Sina Weibo is the most popular social media in China. The Chinese word ‘Weibo’ means micro-blog. It is similar to Twitter which users can only write up to 140 characters in each post. Lots of actors or actress, singers, big companies, and well-known people have accounts, which can be followed by the users.
Under this circumstances, the impacts of social media are bigger in both positive and negative side. As QQ and WeChat became the most commonly used messaging communication services among Chinese social media, Tencent, the investor of both social media, nearly ‘monopolized’ the communication service market. In my own experience, I have never used other communication service software or applications but QQ and WeChat. Users’ private information was provided to government through Tencent. However, those two social media also bring lots of convenience and happiness to our life. Before WeChat was released in 2011, I always used QQ to have chat with my friends, play online games, and share some interesting things with others. WeChat has been used more commonly since I came to America. QQ needs a large flow of Internet traffic to support its various services so it is slow at some moments. However, WeChat is better for having chat through message and video with my parents in China. The photos, videos, and words in ‘Moments’ are enjoyable, which made me interact with my friends. On the Sina Weibo, I followed the singers I like and it makes me know more about them through their posts.
More and more business are appearing on QQ and WeChat. Some companies cooperate with Tencent so users can find the icon of those companies. If users click the icon, they will be transferred to other companies’ websites. Most services provided by those companies are about online shopping, booking hotel or air tickets, and looking for restaurant coupons. The business cooperation helps people save time on looking for basic life services from a huge number of websites. Some people also sell things individually through WeChat in ‘Moments’. They take the pictures of the commodities they want to sell and then post them on ‘Moments’ in order to make his/her friends know what he/she is selling. Some of my friends are selling things by this method. Although it is an effective and profitable method to sell things it is very annoying to others because the place of ‘Moments’ is used to share interesting things and people’s own words. Some companies have their own official WeChat accounts, which companies can send new information instantaneously to followers.
In my opinion, Sina Weibo contributes more to news and free speech rather than entertainment. The renewal of information on newspapers and news websites is slow comparing with Weibo because those companies need someone to write the news and publish online. However, when some users get trustable information and news they will post on Weibo directly and immediately. Through this way, people can know more useful information about companies, government and well-know people. Even though users have some speech which threats the government or authority the government can do nothing because a huge number of users are focusing on those users, who posted these ideas online in order to get the latest information about the situation.
However, the negative impact social media cannot be ignored. People are good at having chat online through social media right now but they have already lost the ability of having conversation with others face-by-face. When some people have dinner together they say nothing and just play their cell phones or have chat with others online. Some companies post some fake information to mislead people on Weibo or other social media in order to make the companies more well-known because they know that the speed of information spreading is fast.
Although Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are not allowed entering into China various social media, which are created by Chinese companies also make people’s life more colorful. It is universally acknowledged that ‘free words’ are the primary reason why Chinese government keeps Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube out of the Fire Wall. However, the social media in China are striving to make people open their eyes and know more truths. It means that we are on the way of pursuing free speech and democracy.