Weibo (微博) is the name for microblogging (tweeting) in China. While it is extremely difficult to find reliable data regarding Chinese weibo users, official reports estimate that there were 250M weibo users in China at the end of 2011. Comparing this to the 100M total users Twitter reported in September, 2011 puts this massive number into perspective. And from personal experience I can tell you that Chinese microblogging is at least as popular as Twitter in the US and, from what I can tell, that popularity isn’t waning.
Many people feel an aversion towards “networking” because it feels too forced. If this is how you feel about networking, then maybe it’ll make it easier if you just think about it as meeting people rather than “networking”. Networking doesn’t have to be about wanting to get something from the people you meet, you can make it about either helping the people you meet, or even just making friends for its own sake. In fact, I find that the latter two are often the best ways to think about networking. Meet people, see what you can do to help them, and then just see what other opportunities may come up in the future.
I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by how friendly other foreigners living in China are, and how willing they are to just strike up a conversation. If nothing else, you always one have thing in common: that you are both living in a foreign land. So one great way to expand your social or business network is simply to strike up conversations with a lot of people. You simply never know what will come of it, be it a long-term, close friendship or a long-term business relationship that wasn’t even conceived of when you first met.