Note from Lionel: Below is a post from Jacqui Zhou who ran our Direct2Dell Chinese blog in the past and is responsible for much of Dell's globalization strategy in social media. Since I thought this topic might be of interest to some of our Direct2Dell readers, I asked her to share some perspective here. If you will be attending SXSW Interactive and are interested in a broader look at social media in China, you might want to check out Social Media and China: Different Than You Think. Jacqui will moderate the panel discussion that features Benjamin Joffe and Sam Flemming.

Here's Jacqui's post:

Three years ago, Dell launched its Chinese corporate blog. This week marks another big step in Dell's social media engagement in China - earlier this week we launched Dell's official microblog in China. Why take this next step through microblogging? Well, microblogs have become an important channel for us to increase direct communications with customers in China.

According to CNNIC, by the end of 2009, the number of Internet users in China has reached 384 million, larger than the entire population of the United States. Watching video online, uploading photos, going to Kaixin or Renren (Facebook's equivalents in China), writing blogs and micro-blogs have become a major part of online activities. At the same time, with the emergence of online transaction applications, online purchase is rapidly growing in China.  We will follow our customers wherever they, in the language they prefer and on the platforms of their choice.

Dell's official microblog in China will serve as an additional connection point for our customers. The microblog will serve as a channel for corporate news, technology discussions and even coupon and deal information. Instead of duplicating what we have in the US, we localize the content and platform to appeal to interests in China and go where our customers in China are.  As you might have noticed, we partner with Sina Microblog, the most successful and widely used microblogging platform in China. Behind Dell's China account is a cross-functional local team of engineers, customer care, marketing personnel and sales representatives. We will heavily rely on our employees. Conversations with customers should not be not limited to one or several teams' job. It can be most useful and beneficial when it is really part of anyone's job, better connecting and being in touch with the day to day customer connections.

China is a diverse country with its unique culture and people. We are here to learn. That said, the motivations of customers have to get online and connect with companies are fundamentally same.  They want great products, great services and they want companies to listen. Listening and engaging in honest and two way conversations have helped us succeed in the US. We will carry on this heritage in any part of the world, including China.

Three years ago, we started Direct2Dell Chinese, the first corporate blog in Chinese in the computer industry. It has become an invaluable tool for Dell to listen, engage and converse with local customers. Our Dell tech support forum has accumulated a big user base where customers assist each other in technology needs.  We have started listening and outreaching program in China where our customer care and tech support agents tune into online conversations proactively and help address customers technology needs. We have implemented ratings and reviews program on dell.com, where Chinese customers can share their feedback of products and help each other make more informed purchase decision. Very soon, we will have our community presence on key local social networking sites like Renren. China is another frontier for Dell to engage with customers in social media. We will keep exploring new areas as we see new trends from our customer. More to come.

Within days of launch, the number of fans has over 6,000 followers. We look forward to more conversations there.