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A Brief Guide to China’s Media Landscape – February 2014

Newspaper collage

The table below shows mainland China’s most important websites, newspapers, and broadcast news organizations, together with numbers for website traffic, circulation and audience.

The numbers are guesstimates based on media reports, listed companies’ public filings, media advertising rate cards, Alexa.com and Danwei interviews with media insiders. Like all numbers in China, they should be taken with a pinch of salt, for reference only. This list is updated every three months.

The major changes since the last version of this report (published in November 2013) are continued growth of Internet users, and the rise of the mobile device as the most common means of accessing the Internet:

“The number of Internet users in China had hit 604 million as of the end of September [2013], with mobile phones becoming the favored means of accessing the web, the State Internet Information Office announced”according to the China Daily.

2013 also witnessed a significant downturn of activity on Sina Weibo (often glossed as “China’s Twitter”). According to recent reports released by China Internet Network Information Center, 22.8% netizens reduced their usage of Weibo, including visits from mobile devices. In December 2013, there were 196 million mobile phone Weibo users, which is 5.96 million fewer than at the end of 2012. The decline is widely blamed on several factors, including the rise of Tencent’s WeChat messaging and mobile app service; government censorship, especially the”Big V Crackdown”; too much advertising and commercial “noise” on users’ Weibo feeds; and a lack of innovation from Sina (see this article for more on the factors behind the decline).

 

Internet

Sina Weibo Microblog Over 500 million registered users/25 million active users daily
Sina.com.cn News portal website 40 million IP visitors daily
Tencent Weibo Microblog about 540 million registered users/220 million active users monthly
Tencent Qzone Nickname SNS, blogs, home pages 620 million active users monthly
Tencent WeChat Mobile text & voice messaging, friend networks 272 million active users monthly
QQ.com News portal website 51 million IP visitor daily
Baidu Post Bar Forum and Q&A over 10 million registered users and over 200 million monthly active users
Baidu Search Engine Search engine over 80 million IP visitors daily
Taobao and T Mall Online mall and C2C ecommerce over 67 million IP visitors daily (combined); over 1 trillion RMB sales in 2012
Youku & Tudou Companies have merged; video sharing and viewing, including TV shows youku: over 10 million IP visitors daily tudou:over 1.26 million IP visitors daily
Douban Interest based, nickname SNS 79 million registered users and over 200 million active users monthly
Renren Real name SNS 184  million active users
Sohu News portal website 25 million IP visitor daily
Netease News portal website 16 million IP visitor daily23 million unique visitors daily
iFeng News portal website 11 million IP visitor daily
Caixin Financial business & politics news one of the leading websites in finance, 153 thousand IP visitor daily
Yicai Financial & economic news one of the leading websites in finance, 54 thousand IP visitor daily

Print Newspapers

Reference News
参考消息
Newspaper 3.4 million copies
People’s Daily
人民日报
Newspaper 2.8 million copies
Global Times
环球时报
Newspaper 2 million copies
Southern Weekly
南方周末
Newspaper 1.7 million copies
New Weekly新周刊 Magazine focusing on current events and lifestyle 310,000 copies
Southern People Weekly
南方人物周刊
Magazine focusing on interviews 200,000 copies

Radio and TV

China National Radio
中央人民广播电台
Radio Over 700 million listeners
CCTV
中国中央电视台
State television broadcaster in mainland China with mutiple channels 200 million to around a billion viewers
HunanTV
湖南卫视
Top provincial satellite TV station focused on entertainment programs 65 to 800 million viewers

Further reading on China’s Internet and media

Danwei Model Workers
Our list of the best English-language specialist websites about China

Wired
The Great Firewall of China (1997)
by Geremie R. Barmé and Sang Ye

The China Story Yearbook series
Behind the Great Firewall (2012); China’s Internet: A Civilising Process (2013)
by Jeremy Goldkorn
Discontent in Digital China (2012)
by Gloria Davies

The Economist
A Giant Cage – A survey of China’s Internet
by Gady Epstein

The Atlantic
“The Connection Has Been Reset”
by James Fallows