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10 Knockoffs From China's Alternate Internet Universe

China's internet copies are often BETTER than the original. Forget Twitter, say hello to Weibo.

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1. Weibo (Twitter + Facebook news feed)

In the Chinese alternate internet universe there are two major "Twitter" services along with several other smaller micro-blog tools, and they improve on Twitter in terms of word count and social features. Oh and the largest (Sina Weibo) has over 500 million signups alone - that's the same number as registered Twitter users around the world.

2. Weixin (Whatsapp + Facebook news feed)

Think messenger service Whatsapp but with better functionality and the ability to share posts with your friends. Rapidly expanding outside of China, the English version is called "WeChat". The tool is also proving to be a private and lightning fast way to spread news (and rumours) - vital when Chinese mainstream and social media occasionally gets choked by the censor board.

3. Taobao (Ebay + Amazon)

It's like Ebay and Amazon joined forces for the ULTIMATE shopping website. There's next to nothing you can't get on there and for the younger Chinese generation shopping in store is virtually for kicks only.

4. Baidu (Google)

Baidu is the Google of China in terms of search and maps. But we're not giving any awards quite yet - not when some of the results have been meddled with by Chinese censors.

5. Renren (Facebook)

With so many other Chinese tools offering the Facebook-like news feed, it's no surprise Renren has failed to reach the spectacular heights that Facebook has around the world. But login and you'll see a world that looks strangely familiar.

6. Dianping (Yelp)

Chinese people LOVE their food and there is so much good food around the country. So is it any surprise that a Yelp-lookalike has sprung up and taken the restaurant world by storm?

7. Youku (YouTube)

YouTube may be blocked in China but the vast majority of Chinese people aren't inconvenienced seeing as the country has their own video sites called Youku and Tudou.

8. Momo (Grindr for straight people)

With large swathes of Chinese society not in the habit of going to bars and parties to find a nearby hookup, Momo (and the "People Nearby" function on WeChat) has rushed in to fill in the gaps.

9. Douban (Myspace + Facebook)

In contrast to Myspace (land of blowing tumbleweeds) Douban is alive and kicking with Chinese musos, creatives and other cool kids sharing their work and setting up event pages.

10. Wowsai (Etsy)

There's a small but growing demand in China for cute and crafty, boutique items. Behind every one of Wowsai's products there's meant to be a "beautiful story" - so think again before you assume China's only about pumping out cheap factory goods and snapping up luxury brands.

Note: this is just a small selection - name any popular social media tool and chances are there's already a Chinese equivalent.

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