(Note this list is under revision so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.)
The short answer is they aren’t. Or, the more nuanced answer is that people in China are “meeting up” in much lower quantities and event numbers compared to many Western countries and major cities around the world. Chinese are definitely not an isolated people. They are gathering, but more around playing games, dancing and other small group and friends and family activities.
Quite simply, Chinese people in mainland China have not yet embraced a “meetup culture,” by which I mean an open, inclusive community of multiple group meeting and gathering around shared interests.
For me personally this means a focus on entrepreneurship, tech and design meetups. Perhaps the largest meetups in China are around speech practice (Toastmasters) and English practice. This are indeed happening regularly.
In spite of the smaller raw numbers and somewhat specialized interests focus, there are some groups scattered about meeting up. People are gathering. It’s just also somewhat harder to find these groups.
This partially has to do with there being a lack of a single events platform in China. Language barrier also is important too.
Specifically, we are working to make great events more accessible with Startup Digest, a weekly newsletter of startup events in over 300 cities around the world. My friend Jordan and I recently launched a version in Western China a couple weeks back. It’s mostly for cities like Chengdu, Xi’an and Chongqing.
If you are interested in knowing about tech and startup events in Western China, you can subscribe here: https://www.startupdigest.com/digests/western-china.
As an aside to that effort to build and develop our Startup Digest, I wanted to share a bit of info about where we find meetups and events data in (Western) China.