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    China's Social Media Use Soars for 2017

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    Chinese have spent 39.8 billion hours on social media platforms in the first half of 2017, which is almost the time needed to build 109 pyramids, a professor of communication said on Sept. 15.

    The first thing most people do when they get up in the morning is scan their smartphones, said James E. Katz, Feld Professor of Emerging Media at Boston University's College of Communication, at a forum on media interconnection, innovation, and reform held in Beijing. 

    People's Daily, the country's largest newspaper, has integrated Weibo and WeChat platforms to strengthen its influence, according to Zhang Shouying, deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

    It is estimated that the daily viewers of People's Daily have increased from 3 million newspaper subscribers to more than 600 million viewers, twice the population of the U.S., Zhang said. 

    Home to over 700 million netizens and over five million websites, China has become a major network country, according to an official with the country's cyberspace administration. With the rapid development of emerging media represented by Weibo and WeChat, China's media outlets are pursuing the integration of traditional and new media, Zhang said.

    Weibo CEO Wang Gaofei said emerging media have completely changed the operation of traditional ones in terms of content production, content form, and publication. For instance, the South China Sea-related topic "China Won't Budge One Bit" started by the People's Daily last year was viewed 6.58 billion times and received 9.689 million comments on Weibo, a new high in terms of both width and depth.

    This article was originally published in The Global Times.

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