Below is a post from Jacqui Zhou, my counterpart who runs Direct2Dell Chinese, which recently passed the one year point. I thought the occassion and insight was worth sharing with our Direct2Dell English audience. Congratulations to Jacqui and the rest of the Dell China team who support the Direct2Dell Chinese blog.
Here is Jacqui's post:
One Year into the Chinese Blogosphere
Who has the most Internet users in the world? The answer is China.
Recently Beijing-based research firm BDA China announced China as the country with the largest Internet population on the planet. China’s online population now stands at 220 million, overtaking the United States for the first time. One year ago, the number was only 130 million.
Of course, for us, this is not a big surprise. Michael has talked on several occasions about how the global online population will double from one billion to two billion in the next few years. Not surprisingly, the majority of the growth will likely come from emerging markets like China. In fact, over 40% of the online population will be in Asia by 2011.
With more and more Chinese people getting online, it’s increasingly important for us to connect with customers via the Internet in the language they feel most comfortable speaking.
One year ago, we became the first technology company to launch a corporate blog in Chinese. The blog has become a great tool for us to connect with customers directly and reach out to reporters and digital influencers.
The nearly 300 blog posts and numerous customer comments archived our rapid growth in China. We launched computers specifically developed for emerging markets, partnered with Gome and entered retail. Last quarter, our shipment in China has increased 53% YoY. Through the blog, we got to know and learn a lot from Sam Fleming, Qingjiao Yu, Cuodao Jin, Zhifeng Sun, and many other bloggers in China. We also joined Twitter and its Chinese equivalent Jiwai.de.
While we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Chinese blog, we are also looking for our next steps.
Besides the blog, forums are another favorite online hangout for Chinese. Everyday over 10 million posts are created in forums in China. Customers go to forums to compare notes about their purchase experience, show off product pictures, and express their opinions about companies. Hong Bo, a famous Chinese IT blogger offered an explanation for the enormous popularity of BBS (bulletin board system) and forums: China has historically lacked a social space where ordinary citizens can discuss issues and form public opinion. The Internet in China has filled much of this need.
Our next step is to migrate our current technical support BBS in China to a community forum platform in the next few months. More functions will be integrated for customers to exchange ideas and solve problems.
Though 220 million seems like a whopping number by itself, it only accounts for 18% of the Chinese population. In a few more years, we will smile at how small 220 million sounded as we get ready to cross the 400 and 500 million level of participants. We have an enormous opportunity to partner with our customers to innovate in how we have conversations and enjoy the benefits of technology.
We’re just getting started and we will continue to do more. I look forward to seeing your comments and thoughts on what you think we need to do more of in the future!