It is no secret that BitTorrent is huge in China. Earlier this year The Pirate bay published a map of all their tracker connections, which revealed that roughly a third of all connections were made from China, compared to a measly 8% from runner up the US.
What is new to many is that contrary to most other parts of the world, people from China also prefer to use a local BitTorrent client to manage their downloads. This new insight comes from data collected from three of the largest BitTorrent trackers adding up to a sample of 357 million unique peer IDs.
With the help of other tracker operators, EZTV’s NovaKing has gathered statistics from the OpenBitTorrent, PublicBitTorrent and Denis Stalker trackers. Spanning over a week, the overall statistics show that it’s not uTorrent but actually the Chinese BitTorrent client Thunder (also known as Xunlei) that has the largest market share.
We have to admit that this data came as a complete surprise to us and that we initially doubted its validity, but TorrentFreak is assured that these statistics are indeed correct. Previously we have reported on the market share of the various BitTorrent clients, but Thunder never made it into the list of most used clients. In this list below, however, Thunder/Xunlei actually beats uTorrent.
10 most used BitTorrent clients.
The logical explanation for this surprising result is that the previous statistics were gathered from a sample of torrents that did not include many Chinese downloaders. Apparently the Chinese prefer to use a local client (and local content) that’s available in Chinese, instead of uTorrent or Vuze which have a dominant market share in the rest of the world.
When we go through the rest of the stats we see that uTorrent has a small lead over Vuze (formerly Azureus). However, the difference is much smaller than our previous market share reports have suggested. This is another indication that the sample used for our previous reports was not as representative as it should have been, despite the large sample size.
Transmission and BitComet have a market share of 3.3 and 4 percent respectively, which is in line with previous reports. In ninth place we find another Chinese client, Tuotu, which is listed as Unknown in the list above.
The new data sheds a new light on the market share of BitTorrent clients. More than anything it reveals that there are quite a few regional differences when it comes to BitTorrent habits. By itself this is nothing new, but that a BitTorrent client used by tens of millions of people can fly under the radar for so long outside China has certainly surprised us.