comScore recently released a report looking at how Internet users in Greater China (Mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) spend their time online. Portals accounted for 24.4%, and another 6.2% was spent on search or navigation. Social networking accounted for 5.5% (a third of the global average), and retail sites accounted for another 5%.
Local or localized services were the primary sites within each category. Tencent, Inc. was the largest portal, reaching almost two-thirds of Internet users in Greater China. Baidu.com was the leading search site, totaling almost 60% of unique visitors. On the retail side, Alibaba.com led the way, being used by 36.5% of respondents. The Entertainment and Social Media categories seemed more competitive, with Youku the largest online video provider (used by 20%), and the Oak Pacific Interactive sites (including Renren.com) used by 18%. On the other hand, those numbers are for all Internet users, not proportions of use within categories.
Overall, Internet use is expanding rapidly in China, and the PRC recently became the country with the largest number of Internet users. Still, Internet access remains largely limited to urban areas, with most users accessing through Internet cafes or mobile devices. Most large US Internet services have tried the China market, although they have found that government restrictions, language conflicts, and strong local competition have limited their success.
Source: "Portals and Entertainment Top Web Categories in China", Research Brief (a MediaPost Blog)