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What are the most popular social media in APAC?
Social media is widely used throughout Asia. In 2023, the APAC region accounted for around 60% of the global social media user base. Anticipating a steady annual growth rate of 2.7%, this region will welcome over 59 million new users in 2024, exceeding the combined user base of the rest of the world.
Facebook and X are well-known in some countries, but other popular platforms are unknown in the West. APAC covers a vast region, so the most popular platforms vary significantly between countries.
This blog explores the most popular social media platforms in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
Many leading Western platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and X, are banned in China. The social media landscape in this country looks significantly different.
WeChat is the largest Chinese social media platform, with over 1.3 billion monthly active users as of the end of 2023.
It is an all-in-one messaging super app that provides payments, news feeds, bookings, food delivery, and more services.
Douyin, globally recognized as TikTok, stands out as the premier social media app for the younger generation in China. Launched by ByteDance in September 2016, this platform garnered widespread international popularity in 2020, amassing an impressive 2 billion mobile downloads.
What distinguishes Douyin from other Chinese social media apps is its unique feature, allowing users to create and share short videos synchronized with music. Over time, the app has evolved, introducing live streaming options and incorporating tools for e-commerce platforms. In addition to its remarkable 2 billion mobile downloads, Douyin boasts a substantial user base of 743 million monthly active users.
Another big platform is Sina Weibo, touted as the ‘X of China’. This micro-blogging platform has over 605 million monthly active users. It also comes with a character limit, similar to X.
Tencent QQ is a messaging app similar to WeChat but with a slightly different demographic. The number of Tencent’s QQ active accounts has been decreasing steadily. In the third quarter of 2023, QQ had about 558 million monthly active users, decreasing from around 574 million in the same quarter of 2022. QQ works best on desktops and is mainly used to send emails or share files.
Video-sharing platform Youku Tudou, is considered the equivalent of YouTube. It experienced a month-over-month decline of 16.5% in its monthly active users, reaching a total of 207 million in September 2023.
Despite support from Alibaba Group, Youku Tudou, once a leader in the Chinese SVOD (subscription-video-on-demand) market, has lost its top position due to growing competition from new service providers.
India has 467 million social media users, constituting about 32.8% of the population. 99.5% of them access social media via mobile phones.
Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp and Instagram are among the most popular platforms. LinkedIn also has a strong presence, with over 99 million members.
In 2023, with 314.6 million users, India had the highest number of Facebook users worldwide.
On June 29, 2020, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in India issued a complete ban on TikTok and 58 other apps of Chinese origin, asserting that they posed a threat to the country’s sovereignty, integrity, defence, security, and public order.
Indonesia has over 167 million social media users, which is about 60.4% of the total population. The most-used platforms are YouTube, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Facebook.
Indonesians use social media to connect with friends and family across the country’s many islands.
According to information in Meta’s advertising materials, Facebook boasted 119.9 million users in Indonesia as of early 2023. Despite a large user base, Meta’s advertising reach decreased by 7.7% in 2023 compared to 2022.
YouTube is steadily gaining popularity in Indonesia. There are over 139 million YouTube users, and YouTube ads reached 65.3% of Indonesia’s total internet user base.
92% of Japan’s internet users are on social media as of 2023, an increase of 5.6% compared to 2022.
Based on the number of monthly active users, the most popular social media platforms in Japan are LINE and YouTube. The top social networking platforms are X and Instagram.
LINE has over 95 million monthly active users, which make up about 75% of the population. Categorised as a super app and similar to the Chinese app WeChat mentioned previously, LINE has many features besides messaging.
These include newsfeeds, a cashless payment system, a games library, TV streaming, digital comics, and e-commerce.
As most Japanese internet users have LINE, regardless of age or gender, LINE Ads is one of the most effective ways for businesses to get smartphone ad impressions.
YouTube has over 78 million monthly active users in Japan, over 60% of the population. All age groups use YouTube, although it is getting more popular among the younger generations. As younger users turn away from traditional TV and more toward digital content, YouTube is anticipated to grow.
X has 65 million monthly active users or just under 50% of the population. It is very popular among celebrities and influencers and is mainly used to stay up-to-date on current events or to get updates on topics users are interested in.
Other popular Japan-specific social media platforms include Niconico (video sharing), Snow (selfie camera app), Ameba (blogging).
During the first quarter of 2023, internet users in the Philippines devoted an average of 3 hours and 38 minutes daily to social media usage. In contrast, their counterparts in Japan spent 47 minutes per day on social media during the same period.
The most popular platforms are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and X.
As of early 2023, Meta’s advertising resources revealed approximately 80.30 million Facebook users in the Philippines.
It’s crucial to note that Meta has significantly modified its method of reporting audience reach data in recent months. This includes substantial revisions to the base audience data for Facebook. Consequently, the figures presented here may not be directly comparable to those in our previous reports due to these changes.
As of 2023, there are 52.25 million active social media users in Thailand, which equates to around 72.8% of the population.
Facebook is the most popular, with 48.1 million users. YouTube comes in next, with 34.9 million users.
LINE is the most popular messenger app, with 95% of mobile Internet users having it on their phones.
According to Facebook IQ, 86% of users used Facebook Stories to learn about new products or services, while 74% said they make more online purchases due to Facebook Stories. This indicates that many Thai people use Facebook to gain information and shop for new products.
In Taiwan, social media is hugely popular among internet users. In fact, according to DataReportal’s 2023 report, 99.5% of internet users between the ages of 16-64 visit or use social media.
The average daily time using social media is 1 hour and 56 minutes, and the average number of social media accounts per user is 8.
The most popular is YouTube, with 20.2 million users. Close behind are Facebook, with 16.2 million users, and LINE, which is used by 77.5% of the population. Instagram is also quite popular, with nearly 42.2% of internet users using the platform.
92% of the entire South Korean population are social media users. However, the time spent and the number of accounts is relatively low compared to other Asian nations.
The average time spent per day on social media is 1 hour and 8 minutes, while the average number of social media accounts owned per internet user is 6.3.
YouTube is the most popular platform in South Korea, with 46 million users. Kakaotalk is next, with 92% of South Korea’s population using it. Kakaotalk is a messaging app similar to WhatsApp.
Like LINE, Kakaotalk also allows brands and companies to create’ PlusFriend’ pages.
Brands can publish updates to their page or send direct messages to their followers, such as coupons, product information, photos, videos, and event information.
Instagram has 19.25 million users, and TikTok is gaining popularity with 5.66 million users aged 18 and above.
There are billions of social media users across APAC. With many platforms, creating the right content for the appropriate platform that matches your product, service and target audience is critical.
Arming yourself with Japanese social media marketing experts is a surefire way to reach your target customers in Japan.
Contact us at DMFA to learn more about our services and how our bilingual consultants can assist you.
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