China Leads Web 2.0 Usage Say BCG

“China’s digital and online communities are the world’s leading users of mobile communication, instant messaging and web 2.0 applications, according to a new report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)” says China Daily.

The report is well worth a read, ‘though some of it is not that surprising given the size of the market and what we know from other developing nations about the “bypass” impact of cell phones and how other phenomena of technology adoption can change communication and business patterns:

“Where most American netizens still rely on emails to communicate with each other, their Chinese counterparts use IM and web 2.0 applications.”

It appears there are three categories of Chinese user: little emperors, reform beneficiaries, and frugal middle-agers (this stuff must have lost something in translation).

However, the report is largely business driven (Really? The BCG?). Despite claims that with “many activities such as IM and blogging, China is more advanced than the United States and other Western economies” we’re not told about how the participative social side of Web 2.0 and what the French call “contenu auto-créé” are impacted by the state’s censorship.

And I’ve love to know how many of those “web 2.0 applications” (it would be more helpful if they were named) are localized and to what extent. I am guessing quite a lot, and that as we have seen from search engine market growth in China, local app offerings rule the day.

See also John Yunker’s posting on iPhone localization opportunities, by the way.


Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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