From overseas press

Chinese quicker to use Weibo to make money

Updated: 2011-05-13 13:35


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More individuals and companies in China are using social media to boost business, fueling expectations that websites such as Weibo will start making money sooner than Twitter and other Western rivals, says an article in the Financial Times on May 10.

According to the article, the commercialization of social media in China is occurring much earlier than it did in the US. Sonia Ai, chief executive of China Focus Interactive, an advertising agency specializing in social media, says Twitter offered its first commercial function four years after its launch. But Sina Weibo was commercialized almost immediately after its launch in August 2009.

Sina Corp, Weibo's parent, has also developed features that make it more suitable than Twitter for commercial use, says the article. "Pictures and videos can be easily posted and re-posted. Re-posted messages form a long thread in which pictures remain visible, and such a conversation makes it much easier for a commercial product or service to go 'viral'."

Unlike those in the US, Chinese internet users are unaccustomed to paying for online services or content, but they are more tolerant of commercialization. "They do not care there are ads on pages," says Dong Xu, social media expert at Analysys, a Beijing-based Internet research company.

With the enthusiastic uptake of micro blogs as a commercial tool and Sina's rapid development of Weibo, analysts expect that social media will boost monetization quickly, says the article. Sina's shares have risen more than 260 percent over the past year. And Sina has become a player in social media, "a kind of public version of Twitter," says Bill Bishop, an Internet analyst in Beijing.

Xu Zhiming, the owner of the online bookstore Kuaishubao, notes that as Sina is experimenting with commercial tools, its sub-micro blogs allow him to push certain products or themes and book ads on the micro blog lead users to his website, where they can make purchases using Weibo login details.


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