The death knell of Chinese blogging: R.I.P. Wangyi Blog, which was once king of Chinese internet

Society & Culture

Wangyi Blog 网易博客, a blogging platform operated by the Chinese internet services company, announced (in Chinese) on Monday that it would be ending its 12-year-long operation.

According to an announcement (in Chinese) published on its website, the platform will completely shut down on November 30. “We’ve been with you for 12 years and it’s time to say goodbye,” it said, adding that users can choose to migrate their articles on Wangyi Blog to Lofter, another blogging product by that focuses more on photo-sharing.

Launched in 2006, Wangyi Blog was one of the blogging pioneers on the Chinese internet. In the three years after its foundation, at the height of the blogging era, more than 90 million netizens opened (in Chinese) personal blogs on the platform. According to the 2013 annual “Statistical Report on Internet Development in China” released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), in terms of comprehensive influence on the internet, Wangyi Blog reigned supreme, with 150 million users that year, more than even Sina Blog and Baidu Space, two services operated by Chinese internet giants.

One of the longtime user of Wangyi Blog is Duan Yongping 段永平, a billionaire investor and entrepreneur behind smartphone firms Oppo and Vivo, who wrote (in Chinese) on August 21 that he doesn’t like Lofter and will close his Wangyi blog for good.

Prior to the country’s social network boom, which saw the introduction of the microblogging platform Sina Weibo and, later, WeChat, Wangyi Blog and other online platforms were where Chinese netizens shared their writing. The prevalence of blogging yielded a generation of prolific writers, critics, and social commentators who earned their fame online. (One good example is Han Han 韩寒, who relied heavily on Sina Blog to publish articles before he turned to Weibo.)

But traditional blogging in China has been on a steady decline since 2011. The last national survey about blogging, conducted by CNNIC and published in 2014, shows that the usage rate of blogging platforms among internet users in China was around 19.3 percent that year, down from 62.1 percent from 2011. In the last few years, a string of blogging websites that once enjoyed great popularity have announced their closure, including Blogbus, Baidu Space, and 51 Blog, so the demise of Wangyi Blog is just another nail in the coffin of blogging.