Social Media

Building a Professional Network Online the Chinese Way


Just as business networking is important in Australia, so it is in China. However, the process of networking in Chinese culture tends to be quite different to the west, and it’s important to understand these distinctions if you want to make inroads into building a professional network online.

We take a look at how networking differs between the two cultures, and the most popular platform for professional social media in China – Dajie.

The cultural differences

In Australia and other western countries, we tend to separate our business and personal lives and relationships, often quite markedly.

To become too emotionally involved in a business partnership or deal is generally considered to be ‘unprofessional’ or somehow inappropriate.

In China however, the two are not usually so distinct. Professional relationships between parties often mirror familial ones, and so might involve the parties treating each other more like family members or close friends.

It’s a matter of trust

Research from the Harvard and Columbia business schools also shows some rather strong distinctions between China and the west in the way we trust those we do business with.

According to the study, Chinese managers use both heart-based and head-based (cognitive) trust in business relationships. American managers use cognitive trust in business, but very little heart trust – which is something reserved more for personal relationships.

What does this mean?

This means that forming professional relationships and partnerships is likely to require more time and effort in China, whether online or offline.

You might be expected to spend considerable time socialising with business partners, and to become a friend to them rather than just a professional associate.

How can you build a network online?

When it comes to online professional networking in China, there’s little doubt that Dajie is the most popular platform, with hundreds of thousands of users a day.

This network is way bigger than LinkedIn – reflecting what is happening in Chinese social media in general, with Chinese citizens tending to favour their own networks.

Research collated by Sampi shows that Dajie:

  • Has approximately 30 million members (LinkedIn in China has around 10 million).
  • 926,000 users log in daily.
  • The average age of users is 30.
  • It focuses on lower level, less-experienced professionals – although there has been a move into the white collar corporate demographic as well.
  • Approximately 63% of users have around three years or less work experience and 68% have university degrees.
  • Features include microblog feeds, a Q&A section, a knowledge database, online skills testing, user polls, book recommendations, and company ratings by employees.

Dajie is frequented by job seekers, employees, educational institutions and companies, providing plenty of opportunity for building relationships.

Other networks

While Dajie is a key network, some of the other popular professional platforms in China include Wealink (369,000 daily users), Renhe (98,000), and Tianji (84,000).

At Digital Crew, our team is very experienced in using professional social media platforms in China. Contact us if you would like assistance in building a professional network online – the Chinese way.

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