Twitter reportedly estimated Tuesday that it has around 10 million active users in China, as analysts said the figure shows that the need to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to log in to overseas social media is not an obstacle, especially for young users.
Twitter estimated that it has 10 million active users in China, though the company isn't completely confident in this number since "a China-based user accessing Twitter on a VPN will show up as being located in the U.S., UK, Singapore or whatever else their VPN is set to," U.S.-based technology website techcrunch.com reported Tuesday.
Chinese Twitter fans must access Twitter through VPNs, since the social media platform has been officially blocked in China since 2009. Previous estimates have pegged Twitter's China-based following as being as high as 35.5 million users, according to techcrunch.com.
Shen Yang, a professor from the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that the statistic shows that using a VPN to get over the Great Firewall is not difficult for the young generation. He cited mainlanders flooding Facebook to slam Taiwan's opposition party leader in November as an example.
Belligerent posts allegedly from Internet users in the Chinese mainland flooded Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen's Facebook in November.
Shen said more Chinese people are eager to interact with people from the rest of the world. In June, several academics called for China to relax cyber supervision of academic websites, saying that the strict supervision has been detrimental to their research.
However, he warned China needs to be cautious when allowing overseas social media services to enter the country.