Twitter and Facebook, China Style

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Forget The Social Network. Wouldn't you rather be a member of the Happy Network?

Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, so tech-savvy Chinese are now using home-grown social media sources to satisfy their need to connect. Kaixin001.com, or "the Happy Network," is China's version of Facebook. It has about 90 million users, a figure that's increasing by 100,000 per day. Weibo, with 40 million users, is like a Chinese Twitter.

Chinese Internet innovation is hardly new: Tencent, one of China's largest Internet service portals, was founded in 1998. Tencent launched the wildly popular QQ platform, which led to QQ Instant Messenger, QQ Games and other popular tools. Tencent's social networking platform has almost half a billion users, too.

Just like American social networks, China's counterparts -- Weibo and Kaixin001.com -- have attracted the accolades of celebrities, institutions, and the mainstream media. Now, for good or for ill, even the Communist party wants in.

In fact, the social network sites are so popular that the ruling Communist Party has started training its cadre to make use of them.

Officials are taught how to use microblogs, blogs and instant messaging software, the report said. Beijing police officially launched their microblog "Safe Beijing" in August to release information concerning public security and to receive suggestions from the public.

Read the full story at The Times of India.

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Elizabeth Weingarten is an editorial assistant at the New America Foundation. A former Slate editorial assistant, she also previously wrote for and produced the Atlantic's International Channel.

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