A March 7 report by data analysis company Nielsen revealed the top websites used by Chinese residents over the Chinese New Year period. The majority of these sites have English-language versions that can be used outside the country.


China's internet population, estimated around 384 million, appears to be growing even during the Chinese New Year period (CNY), which is traditionally regarded as family time and revolves around the CNY Gala broadcast by state TV agency CCTV.

A survey* by Nielsen found that during this period in 2011 increasing amounts of Chinese were turning to other media platforms for entertainment. For example, video sharing platform Youku.com received 73.88 million unique browsers during CNY 2011, compared to 59.65 million in 2010 - an increase of 24 percent - while search engine Baidu received 184.76 million unique browsers during CNY 2010 and 218.56 million in 2011.

The Nielsen survey found that the top five websites in China over the 2011 CNY period were:

1. baidu.com (218.56 million unique browsers) - search engine
2. qq.com (179.75 million UB) - instant messaging
3. sina.com.cn (113.36 million UB) - news/entertainment
4. sohu.com (79.15 million UB) - news/entertainment
5. youku.com (73.88 million UB)- video sharing

With the exception of search engine Baidu and instant messaging service QQ, these sites also have English language versions. For news and entertainment from around the world, visit Sina at http://english.sina.com/, or Sohu at http://english.sohu.com/. Video sharing site www.youku.com hosts several English lnguage videos, particularly movie trailers; these can be found by entering the English term into the search bar at the top of the page - for example " Black Swan."

* The report compares data collected during the seven days surrounding Chinese New Year 2011 (January 31-February 6) with data taken from the same lunar period in 2010 (February 8-14/15-21). Nielsen explains that it used a two-week average for the 2010 figures because CNY eve and day fell on a Saturday and Sunday respectively.