Blogging starts to take off in China, analyst says

The number of registered blogs in China has more than doubled since the beginning of this year, according to a market research firm in Beijing.

China had 33.4 million registered blogs at the end of the third quarter, up more than 100 per cent since January, when it had 14.5 million blogs, said research company Analysys International. Blogs, or Web logs, are personal Web sites that are similar to online diaries, allowing people to record events in their lives, share pictures, or comment on current events.

Analysys did not provide an estimate for the number of Internet users who use blogs or how many registered blogs are updated regularly. China had 105 million Internet users at the end of September, according to the Ministry of Information Industry (MII).

Analysys attributed the growth in blogs in China to the entry of major Internet content providers into the area, including Tencent Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s MSN Spaces service. While most blog services are free, some users have shown a willingness to pay for such services, Analysys said.

The top three blog services in China during the third quarter were Tencent’s Q-Zone service, Inc.’s Buluo service and Hangzhou Blog Information Technology Co. Ltd.’s Blogcn service, according to Analysys. It did not rank the three or estimate how many registered blogs and users are served by each provider.

Demand for blogging services in China is still in the early stages of development and the services available are not yet mature, Analysys said. The research firm said blog service providers are still trying to attract users and have not yet entered a period of high growth.

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