China Business Blogs 2015 – The Rankings

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CDE Op-Ed Commentary

The Chinese English language blog community has always been competitive, and has accordingly alternated between intelligence dissemination and occasional name-calling. Hopefully, the days of the latter are a long way behind as contributors recognize that an increasing trend of specialization is becoming key.  

In this article, we wish to portray a snap-shot of the English language Chinese business blogophere as it stands right now, as well as highlight its importance and significance amidst ongoing Chinese censorship. We look at the most successful and widely read sites, and see if we can spot any trends regarding the way this essentially amateur yet dedicated field of journalism is progressing. 

What do you mean – Amateur!?

Okay, hold on! There are many great writers out there. However, in the world of business blogging, even the large international media now combine professional journalists qualified in their craft with bloggers providing detailed insights. Paul Gillis is a fine example of someone widely quoted in international media on fiducial matters, while Stan Abrams is a similar expert on matters of China IP. 

Nevertheless, it remains rare to find businesspeople, lawyers or accountants who are able to integrate their professional duties into their writing, although there are exceptions.

While many fine international media organizations run excellent China blogs, including the WSJ China Real TimeChina Digital Times  and China Internet Watch,  many either use these outlets as specific homes for China stories or act essentially as aggregators. In any event, this type of article is designed to introduce readers to what lies beyond the standard news media library.

So, how to define a blog? Perhaps a website that is non-core to the main business interest of the writer, and that exists to educate with some plugs allowed. That is the basis upon which this list has been collated.

Blogs from Professional Service Firms

High-pressure work hours mean that many lawyers and accountants cannot commit to regular writing. In addition, in-house counsel and marketing departments also want to have input into how a firm is portrayed. Many clients do not wish their case studies to be aired in public (one reason why a lot of commentary about specific companies in China can be both subjective and inaccurate). Another issue is that, in many countries, actively promoting your firm breaches local regulatory guidelines.

Future Trends

Having been involved in the China blogosphere since 1999, I have seen a few things come and go. In earlier days, information concerning China was so scant that nearly anything went – including a great deal of questionable commentary. Today, the content issue has begun to settle down, with an increasing demand for more technical data on regulatory changes that affect business. To this end, good quality yet somewhat esoteric blogs have begun appearing. Below we feature contemporary China business blogs, together with their current Alexa rankings.

A Word on Rankings

The issue with web rankings is that they concentrate on global awareness. In this article, I have used the commonly accepted Alexa rankings. However, these should be taken with a pinch of salt, as China is a fairly nuanced subject to be blogging about and some do not target a global audience. The Alexa Rankings provided are for global views, were collected on April 5th 2015 and are subject to change. Visiting the Alexa website will provide further analysis. Readers may also use alternative sources to check data.

What follows is a list of the important blogs that people should be reading, or at least checking out when it comes to China. And just remember, there are an estimated 152 million blogs out there in total, meaning that anyone who ranks in the top 15 million is in the top 10 percent, those in the top 1.5 million the top 1 percent,and those that break into the top 500,000 globally – the 0.3 percent of all blogs worldwide – are in a rare atmosphere of international readership and influence. Included are well-known sites whose popularity has now found an appropriate level, in addition to newcomers who may not have had time to rise up the rankings. Blogs are also subjective; readers may enjoy the style of one as opposed to another, even though content may be similar.

Recommended 2015 China Blog Reading & Rankings

Atlas Journal 

A useful career website dealing mainly with recruitment and best practice hiring trends in China, with regular China hand interviews.

Alexa Ranking: 5,916,163

China Accounting Blog 

Written by the above mentioned Paul Gillis, a Professor at Peking University Guanghua School of Management, this oft-quoted blog deals with regulatory updates and China’s economic and especially financial administrative evolution.

Alexa Ranking: 3,028,772

China Briefing 

Our own blog – content since 1999, and now producing magazines  and books.

An example – we hope – of home-grown blogs being able to grow and develop, but you can make up your own minds about that.

Alexa Ranking: 259,631

China Bystander 

Reliably covers both common and not-so-common trade and political issues with China. A good round up source for events and what they really indicate. 

Alexa Ranking: 18,345,030

China Healthcare 

A useful, if somewhat sporadic blog concentrating on one of China’s great growth markets.

Alexa Ranking: 2,288,698

China Herald

Featuring a random selection of articles from a roster of featured China hands, some well-known.

Alexa Ranking: 9,076,801

China Hush

Deals with more cultural issues, but is one of the more consistent sites in doing so. Useful for new to China foreigners.

Alexa Ranking: 600,360

China IP Lawyer

Useful technical site dealing with China law and especially IP updates and commentary on cases. Written by the Shanghai-based IP specialist practice Debund Law Offices.

Alexa Ranking: 7,025,896

China Law Blog

Written in Seattle by the Washington State law firm Harris & Moure since 2005, often featuring affiliate contributors from China, this blog has become popular with law students. 

Alexa Ranking: 1,112,225

China Law & Policy

Written by Elizabeth Lynch, an American attorney based in New York, this blog details a mix of mainly human and women’s rights law issues in China.

Alexa Ranking: 1,771,369

China Law Prof Blog

From Donald Clarke of the George Washington University Law School in Washington DC, another American law blog aimed mostly at student education concerning China matters.

Alexa Ranking: 90,148

China Private Equity

Commentary on IPOs and listings of Chinese companies both home and abroad, some economic opinions.

Alexa Ranking: 1,702,799

China Stock Research 

A new site but one to watch. Provides detailed research on Chinese stocks listed on Nasdaq and the NYSE.

Alexa Ranking: 2,215,130

Quality Inspection

A very useful site written by Renaud Anjoran, an ASQ certified QC engineer who has been working in China since 2005. Essential for buyers and China traders.

Alexa Ranking: 323,518

Red Luxury 

A unique site all about who’s doing what and how to sell to China’s growing luxury consumer market.

Alexa Ranking: 294,418

Silicon Hutong

An occasionally opinionated yet entertaining blog concentrating mostly on tech and PR issues in China written by David Wolf, a long term China hand with a professional background in US-China political and market research. And yes, he really does live in a Hutong.

Alexa Ranking: 10, 4111,363

Sinosplice

A useful blog for students and new to China expats, concentrating on Chinese linguistics with a healthy dash of culture. Written by John Pasden, a Chinese linguistics expert based in Shanghai.

Alexa Ranking: 349,237

Speaking of China

Not strictly about business, except that it deals with the matters of foreign-Chinese love affairs!

Alexa Ranking: 516,230

Thomas Crampton 

Written by the Global MD of Ogilvy & Mather, this blog deals with social media in Asia. Somewhat sporadic, but when content is posted it’s worth a read.

Alexa Ranking: 1,516,873

Welcome to China

A beginner’s guide to China, but well presented and a great introduction on what to expect. Written by Rod L’Hullier, an Australian based in Chengdu, and therefore provides a different perspective from the usual Beijing/Shanghai axis.

Alexa Ranking: 2,130,856

Xinjiang Far West China

Not strictly business, but I decided to include it because information on Xinjiang is so hard to come by. A labor of love from a dedicated China Silk Road Expat. Kudos.

Alexa Ranking: 786, 864

Summary

Blogs are difficult to maintain – the time consumption and the need to get ever more detailed and accurate content as opposed to opinion (especially for business blogs) means that there is always going to be a turnover of blogs that eventually peter out and die. However, the above mentioned blogs are all written with an element of passion about them, representing bloggers who care about their chosen subject. As such, there are a number of blogs that will match your specific corporate research need.

There is a trend towards provision of both more technical and more geographically diverse information. The rankings suggest that blogs which cover a wider geographic region and which include more detailed analysis are starting to become more popular. The demand for China intelligence is becoming more in-depth, and the blogs with better rankings reflect this – although one or two new blogs have still to make their mark and will no doubt attract more views in time.

For business blogs that we missed off, please accept our apologies and kindly find the (moderated) comments section below as a platform to introduce any missing blogs from this list to our readers. Additionally, blogs that would like to partner with China Briefing – some of those mentioned already do – are welcome to contact us at editor@asiabriefing.com

Blogging is largely a free service, and we wish to extend our applause to all the above blogs and their authors for doing such a great job in getting their valuable intelligence out there.

Editor’s Note:

Thanks to everyone who has posted a comment so far. I’d like to remind readers of the other blog-based websites that we run, as well as their rankings: 

Asia Briefing –  – 604,955
ASEAN Briefing  – 541,324
India Briefing  – 256,840
Vietnam Briefing – 1,113,263 

Some good sources of country intelligence there, as demonstrated by their popularity in rankings terms. Complimentary subscription to all can be obtained here.

Can readers suggest any other good China blogs we should be mentioning?


Chris Devonshire-Ellis
is the Founding Partner of Dezan Shira & Associates – a specialist foreign direct investment practice providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam, in addition to alliances in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, as well as liaison offices in Italy, Germany and the United States. For further information, please email china@dezshira.com or visit www.dezshira.com.

Chris can be followed on Twitter at @CDE_Asia.

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9 responses to “China Business Blogs 2015 – The Rankings”

  1. Jim Nelson says:

    I am not objective, but surprised you do not name Chinabusinessleadership.com

  2. Indeed. http://www.chinabusinessleadership.com is provided by the Shi Group, a recruitment firm, and covers HR issues in addition to more general commentary. It’s a nice looking site. Apologies for the omission and please feel free to recommend other worthy blogs.
    Thanks
    Chris

  3. Inspiron says:

    Nice article, and timely. Since the demise of Danwei and the previous toxic nature of jealousy and nastiness amongst China blogs its a pleasure to see a mature considered approach to discussing other blogs. Some good ones now no longer with us are also missed, All Roads, China Hearsay I guess their authors got busy with real work, however the above is a pretty good go-too list.

  4. Some useful Chamber of Commerce in China websites and Alexa rankings:
    Amcham: http://www.amchamchina.org
    Alexa: 445,140
    Austcham: http://austcham.org
    Alexa: 1,376,646
    Britcham: http://www.britishchamber.cn
    Alexa: 1,261,259
    Eurocham: http://www.europeanchamber.com.cn/en/home
    Alexa: 1,012,003
    French Chamber: http://www.ccifc.org
    Alexa: 1,758,228
    German Chamber: http://china.ahk.de
    Alexa: 90,046
    Hong Kong: http://www.chamber.org.hk/en/index.aspx
    Alexa: 446,891
    Some interesting stats there concerning popularity. All are within the top 10% of worldwide blogs, demonstrating the continuing interest of China from these communities.

  5. Tony Bernards says:

    It’s interesting you mentioned Danwei, they’ve been quiet since acquired by the FT. I just looked up their rankings on the same basis and Danwei are at 1,877,871 several of the blogs on your list rank significantly higher. Here are some other institutional blogs I dug out for you in the same vein:
    US-China Business Council http://www.uschina.org – ranks 996,865
    UK-China Business Council http://www.cbbc.org – ranks 912,878
    German-China Business Council http://www.dcw-ev.de – ranks 3,577,345
    Australia-China Business Council http://www.acbc.com.au -ranks 884,624
    Canada-China Business Council http://www.ccbc.com – ranks 1,453,514
    I’m sure there are others but as a comment these organizations charge a lot for membership and seem to compete with their own chambers. When looking at the rankings, it would seem several of the free blogs listed on your list offer rather better value and are higher global profile than the officially I presume government supported websites. So if you really want to know what’s going on read a good China blog LOL. You’ve made an interesting list I don’t recall seeing the ranks compared before so thanks for that. Cheers AB

  6. Here’s a good looking and relatively new blog – China Digital Review http://www.chinadigitalreview.com covering all matters of Chinese online purchasing trends from Ernie Diaz, an old friend of ours. It’s currently ranked 1,663,870 on Alexa but is sure to move higher. Check it out for a look at a smartly presented blog with excellent content unavailable elsewhere. The fact that Ernie writes exceptionally well is another reason to visit. A must read for all those looking to sell product to the Chinese consumer.

  7. Renaud says:

    Thanks Chris for the link! Nice list, and I agree with other commenters.

  8. Renaud says:

    Many thanks, Chris!

  9. Ernie Diaz says:

    Thanks for the mention, Chris! You were content marketing before it was a byword. In fact, your vision/model with China Briefing, as well as China Expat, was the inspiration/business case for China Digital Review. Kudos!

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