Chinese social media today
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The idea for this collection came about in early 2015 when Kent and Ellis were in the process of bringing together another edited collection, Disability and social media: Global perspectives (Ellis & Kent, 2017). They noted that while there were many excellent submissions from around the world for the collection, China, and more specifically Chinese social media, was a notable exception. At that time the rapidly expanding Chinese social media sphere had already been embraced by China’s many internet users – China has both the world’s largest population (1.38 billion) and the world’s largest internet user base (710 million) – and social media was an established and active site of participation, particularly on sites unique to China. Of particular note was that while for with other language groups the global dominance of US-centric social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Google has encroached on, and in many cases supplanted, any native language-specific social media platform, this has not been the case in China. This is to an extent due to the Chinese government’s policy of blocking many popular Western social media sites, in the space of these networks a dramatic rise of unique domestic social networking sites such as WeChat (Weixin), Sina Weibo, QQ, and Renren, has taken place resulting in the development of a uniquely Chinese language social media ecology and a vibrant and unique Chinese social media market outside the western world.
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