This is my second piece, in the “what?!” series.  In the “what?!” series, we try to discuss something really ridiculous about the China internet sector, something most foreigners will find totally bizarre, weird yet funny about China internet. (Note: the last piece is about: Chinese Gov’t Says Shanzhai is Also Innovation – What ?! http://www.mobinode.com/2010/12/01/chinese-govt-says-shanzhai-is-also-innovation-what/)

I recently found out that if you have more than 1,000 friends over Chinese leading social networks, such as Renren, Kaixin or QQ, you have to pay a fee.  For Renren, you have to upgrade to VIP services, paying RMB10 a month, to have 1,001 friends in your account.  Similar for Kaixin and QQ. Only Sina’s Microblog service (the Twitter of China) is exception to this rule.  

I double-check with a blogger friend of mine (a Chinese girl) and she said that is true and in fact she is paying for such a service, willingly.

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Sherman So

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. (http://redwiredrevolution.com/) She previously was the lead China technology reporter...