Why email loses out to popular apps in China

In May 2008 I was teaching at a private English school in Yangshuo, a small town in southern China. It is an idyllic place to study, with limestone hills, known as karst, decorating the riverine landscape. When they finished their course my adult students told me to download QQ, a Chinese desktop application much like MSN Messenger, to keep in touch.

I asked them to register on Facebook (it was unblocked in China then), add me as a friend and also leave their email addresses. A few did but they were hard to remember, because they often looked something like this: zwpzjg59826@126.com. I thought these email addresses were slightly odd, but back then it was not so unusual to have peculiar email addresses even in the UK.

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