According to Kevin Systrom, co-founder of the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, his team’s app has 100,000 weekly downloads in China. Worldwide downloads are at roughly one per second (with more on the weekend). Instagram is available in ten languages – including simplified and traditional Chinese – which boosted the app’s sky-rocketing first few months.
Systrom says he realizes that there is more to do than just offering language versions in terms of localization, and knows that very few Chinese Instagram users share to Facebook:
We need to customize the product to work more seamlessly with locales that are not the US – and that’s important to us!
More growth thanks to Weibo & Celebrities
With Weibo being the key social media platform in China, this is where Instagram headed first and introduced social sharing to Sina Weibo for users who selected Simplified or Traditional Chinese as their mobile device’s system language. Since Weibo itself lacks photo filters, so the partnership means that Weibo receives quality user-generated images on its platform – and some of these images have since gone viral – a benefit to both Weibo and Instagram.
Opinion leaders and celebrities are also propelling Instagram’s growth in the region through their re-shares to Weibo. Many of these include Chinese celebrities (and Internet celebrities) like Ling Jia Lu, Sun Fei Fei, and Zhang Xin Yuan, with hundreds of thousands of followers, as well as Beijing and Shanghai elites like Bao Bao Wan or one-time Beijing expat “beijingemily” who’s picked up 200,000 users (mostly from China).