Dr Mathew McDougall

The Rise of Location Based SNS in China

China has its own lively, location-based sites (like foursquare) that are better adapted to Chinese netizens and support the connecting to Chinese SNS sites like renren, douban, Sina and kaixin.

I am often later to understand the significance of a new platform than I would like to admit. It happened with 'twitter' and with 'foursquare'. Both platforms did not impress me at the start and at the time and I could not understand why a following had developed around these tools. But Foursquare and Gowalla seemed to have carved an interesting niche with their social-network "check-in" services, which have tied in nicely with the rise of Twitter and Facebook status updates. 

So over this Chinese National holiday, I took the opportunity to spend much more time exploring the foursquare  app and then started to compare them to the local Chinese versions. It was remardable just how closely resembled their Western cousins but in one respect, made my time to learn much faster.

China has its own lively, location-based sites that are better adapted to their users (this means that they are in Chinese and support the connecting to Chinese SNS sites like renren, douban, Sina and kaixin). In China, LBSNS started relively late, and the local Chinese landscape consist of Bedo, L99, Mogutuan, Play4f, Jiepang, Duolequ, dianping.com However, the one that appears to have moved into the leadership position is Jeipang.

Jiepang is the Chinese language equivalent of Foursquare (when I say equivalent, I should say copy).  Jiepang comes in both simple and traditional Chinese so I suppose that this platform is primarily aimed at netizens throughout mainland China as well as those in Taiwan and Hong Kong. On Jiepang, there seems to be a lot of venues already added, but no one has actually checked in to most of them yet. So there may not be quite so many users as all those listed restaurants, bars, and whatnots would suggest. But that said, I was surprised to find the small coffee in the lobby of my apartment already listed with a landlord in residence (Landlord = Foursquare's Mayor).

With my eye always looking to ways to extend and improve my social media campaigns, I have put together a slide set to help other Chinese based marketers think about the ways that these platforms can help in social media marketing.

Location Based Social Network Services (LBS) in China

If you are using foursquare or Jeipang in a social media campaign then please let us know how it is going and what lessons we can learn from you.


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Dr Mathew McDougall Digital Jungle Dr Mathew McDougall
Company: Digital Jungle
Position: Founder & CEO
CEO for Digital Jungle. I founded Digital Jungle in 2011 as a cross-cultural digital marketing agency. Our mission is to help International organisations connect their brands with Chinese consumers, living in China and abroad.

Latest Articles by Dr Mathew

October 16 | Reaching the Digital-Savvy Chinese Consumer
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