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Globally, new media are quickly superseding traditional media as the most popular tool for the dissemination of information and persuasive marketing promotions. As of December 2013, there are 618 million internet users in China, including 500 million mobile users.1 Weibo (Chinese translation for ‘Micro Blog’) and WeChat, the Chinese counterparts to Twitter and WhatsApp, respectively, are the two most important social networking channels in China. This explosive rise in social media users offers the tobacco industry a powerful and efficient marketing channel.
Like Twitter, Weibo users can post 140-character messages that may include web links and emoticons. Most Chinese tobacco companies have active Weibo accounts that …
Contributors FW and PPZ wrote the manuscript; BF and SC supervised the study and shaped the paper.
Funding This study was funded by National Nature Science Foundation of China (71 203 033).
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.