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3.1 Online Community

Online community is a online application that makes use of Internet communication spaces such as forums and blogs. According to the report in August 2008 from China Internet Network Information Center, the forum/BBS access rate of the online community was 38.8%, and the size of users had reached 98.22 million, which makes it the 9th online application in ranking. Forums and blogs are blooming in China as more and more people gain access to the Internet. The number of users who update their blogs within half a year has reached 70.92 million. People in such communities communicate to satisfy their social, educational, professional needs as people from different parts of the world can ecommunicate easily with others and  share their thoughts freely. According to the report, blogs and forums occupy a great part in people's daily life. Since blogs and forum services are provided free, companies make most of their revenue through advertising.

 

Rate in June 2008

Size of users in June 2008 (ten thousand)

Netizens with blog/personal space

42.3%

10,706

Netizens who upgrade their blog/personal space

28.0%

7,092

Forum/BBS access

38.8%

9,822

Netizens publishing posters at forum/BBS

23.4%

5,931


3.2 Online Gaming

Online gaming is ranked 7th among all other online applications.
According to the report in August 2008 from China Internet Network Information Center, the rate of usage of online games was 58.3% and the number of users had reached 147 million. The rate in China is relatively high as compared to the rates of other countries. For example, in United States, for the same period of time, the rate was 35%, which was much lower.

Also, role-playing games are very popular among online gamers. According to the report in August 2008 from China Internet Network Information Center, the percentage of role-playing games players was 53%, and the number of role-playing game players in China had reached 78.15 million. It was calculated that the average time gamers spend on playing such games is 11.9 hours per week.

Online gaming is one of the largest and fastest growing entertainment sectors in China. Due to that, many online gaming companies prefer to promote their games in China where there is a larger group of consumers. That is why some of the most popular online games come from mainland China. Some of the biggest online gaming companies in China are Shanda Entertainment, Netease, The9, Tencent and others.

 

December 2007

June 2008

Changes within half a year

Using rate

59.3%

58.3%

-1.0%

Size (ten thousand)

12,453

14,746

2,293



3.3 Online Media

Music is the most popular entertainment application for netizens in China. According to the report in August 2008 from China Internet Network Information Center, the rate of usage had reached 84.5% and the number of users is over 214 million now.

Online video is also one the most important entertainment applications in China. It has a usage rate of 71%, which ranks it 4th among other entertainment applications, and there are over 180 million users.

Some of the most popular online video sites are www.haoting.com, www.tudou.com, www.youku.com and American online video site, YouTube. In October 2007, founders of www.tudou.com reported that they streamed about 15 billion minutes of video every month, which is five times bigger than the amount for YouTube.

Video and audio piracy in China is considered as one of the highest in the world.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry claims that, 95% or higher, of the music tracks in China is pirated and most of them are spreaded through the Internet. All these cause huge harm to the local and international music and video industries.  

3.4 Search Engines-Baidu

The increasing number of  internet users in China has inevitably led to progression of search engines in China. 

Baidu is the largest Chinese search engine and it provides more than 55 search services. It has an index of over 740 million web pages, 80 million images, and 10 million multimedia files. Baidu was founded in year 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu and the name originated from an ancient Chinese poem.

The Chinese language is very different from many western languages as it uses its own unique symbols. It consists of many dialects and there are many ways to pronounce the same words for different dialects. Baidu has taken note of this problem and solves it by implementing a search feature that allows users to search using hanyupinyin.

Like many other search engines, Baidu is free of charge and financed by advertisements.

By using Baidu and some other search engines, people are able to find some pirated music and video. Because of that, some companies in the music industry, represented by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, sued Baidu and another search engine called Soudu in 2007.

3.5 Social networking sites


Social networking is another very popular application of ICT. It provides internet users with an online platform to communicate with friends, schoolmates and colleagues.
Xiaonei is a social networking site which is also famously known as the "Chinese version of Facebook". Xiaonei in Hanyupinyin means "On-campus network". Like in Facebook, you can use different functions to upload pictures, videos and many others. In November 2007, Xianei was considered as the biggest social website among other universities. At that time, it had more than 8.8 million active users.

It was originally founded by some university graduates in December of 2005. In October 2006, Oak Pacific Interactive, a Chinese internet consortium, which created a similar college social network called 5Q, purchased Xiaonei.com. Within a year, the number of users for Xiaonei started increasing rapidly and by October 2007 it had more than six million users. Till now, this number is still increasing.

Chinaren.com is another kind of social networking website in China that was very popular a few years back. Compared to Xiaonei, Chinaren does not provide as much interfaces for the users. For Xiaonei.com, every user has his own webpage and users are given more space to display their personal unique styles. Users are able to design their own webpage, write blogs and even play online games with their friends. This could not be done on Chinaren.com. Nowadays, Xiaonei is taking over Chinaren.com in becoming one of the most popular social network websites among youths in China.

Reference


Cnnic.net, The 22d survey report (August 15, 2008), China Internet Network Information Center

Retrived from http://www.cnnic.net.cn/download/2008/CNNIC22threport-en.pdf

Domino.A (March 14, 2008)

Retrived from http://inventorspot.com/articles/tudou_chinas_youtube_11495 

Jacob.A (April 07, 2008) IFPI London

Retrived from http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_news/20080407.html

Yao Xu (October 07, 2007), USC US-China Institute

Retrived from http://china.usc.edu/ShowArticle.aspx?articleID=613&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Picture of 3.2 courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/newsforkidz/2004/0912/image001.jpg
   
Picture of 3.4 courtesy of http://www.williamlong.info/upload/1100_1.jpg
   
Picture of 3.5 courtesy of http://www.pacificepoch.com/images/uploads/xiaonei_2.jpg