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

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. We also use numbers from the biannual reports issued by CNNIC, the state-owned Internet statistical organization (their December report is available here in Chinese only). Like all numbers in China, they should be taken with a pinch of salt, for reference only. This list is updated every three months.

Notes and updates since the last version of this report (published in February 2014):

• Weibo use continues to slow after the company’s IPO; their filings state a daily active user count of 61.4 million, but we believe that it is lower than that;
• WeChat use continues to grow, although not at anything near its blazing speed in 2013. The deletion of a number of popular accounts that published news feeds to subscribers in March put paid to the notion that WeChat might replace Weibo as a platform for freewheeling discussion of sensitive matters.
• In December 2013, CNNIC reported that China had 619 million Internet users, including 500 million people who connected via a mobile phone; the number has no doubt grown since then.
• A report by Gartner in January this year stated that China had more than one billion mobile phone users.
• The strict monitoring and censorship of news and social media in the last half year continue with no letup in sight.

Internet

Tencent WeChat Mobile text & voice messaging, friend networks 396 million active users monthly
Sina Weibo Microblog 100 million active users monthly/40 million active users daily
Sina.com.cn News portal website 37.2 million IP visitors daily
Tencent Weibo Microblog about 540 million registered users/220 million active users monthly
Tencent Qzone Nickname SNS, blogs, home pages 632 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 71 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 million IP visitors daily
Douban Interest based, nickname SNS 79 million registered users and over 200 million active users monthly
Renren Real name SNS 45 millionactive login users monthly
Sohu News portal website 27 million IP visitor daily
Netease News portal website 17 million IP visitor daily
iFeng News portal website 9.7 million IP visitor daily
Caixin Financial business & politics news one of the leading websites in finance, 204 thousand IP visitor daily
Yicai Financial & economic news one of the leading websites in finance, 38 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