On December 13th, 2011, Twitter users all over Japan broke a record by tweeting about during a television screening of Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky — it’s a famous anime that is known by all Japanese and Japanese tweeters tweeted quotes from the show during the entire program. That was the world record for message per second on a social network until the first minute of Chinese New Year, Monday January 23rd, when Chinese users broke the Twitter record on their own version of Twitter, Sina Weibo.
The original record, 25,088 messages per second, was toppled by China’s record of 32,312 messages per second. This is a sign of things to come. China is an emerging market for social networks, and with over 500 million users online and 100 million monthly active users on Weibo, there is room to grow, and we could see records being broken almost like cold-war era competition in the next years, as China and the rest of the world battle for growth. It’s unlikely at this point that China will let any outside social networks into its country and doubtful that an extension of their network out into the rest of the world would catch much steam among non-Chinese at this point.
It seems as if the Chinese government is fully aware of these social networks, and is ready to keep an eye on the growth and messages that originate from within. Obviously, for a centrally-governed state with a low tolerance for insubordination, they want to make sure that the networks aren’t used against the government. They have been enacting laws to ask their social networks to enforce real names on networks, likely to censor dissenters. This would allow them to keep a close eye on users, and while it will help them monitor their citizens, it could also perhaps prevent events like the drug sales that went on in the mixi network in Japan.