Sina Weibo is the most attractive social platform in China for marketers. I’m speaking from the perspective of a social media professional in China: I’ve had countless meetings with clients who want Sina Weibo as the focus of their social media strategy. Despite the vast potential, Sina Weibo has yet to deliver a respectable product for its ad clients.
Sina Weibo Enterprise 2.0 changes that. One week ago, I was sent a test account of that product, and two days ago I also received information about a “Sina Weibo Ad Package” from connections at several Chinese ad agencies. This is undoubtedly Sina Weibo’s most robust monetization attempt ever.
While the investment world is fixated on Sina Weibo’s business model, Tencent Weibo is quietly improving its user experience. For Tencent, Weibo is not a product that needed to be urgently monetized, but one that can be perfected over time. CEO Pony Ma is also known as the company’s lead product manager.
Tencent Weibo is now the closest to the Twitter experience of any of the microblogs I’ve seen in China. Yet it also has special merits of its own.
The reign of the Sina Dynasty may be on the wane in the realm of Chinese microblogs. Regional warlords have risen rapidly to take advantage of weaknesses on the fringes of Sina’s empire. To add to Sina’s troubles, upstarts are recruiting confused citizenry in guerrilla warfare and sleeping Titans may be starting to stir.
It’s the Chinese Lunar New Year in China, the Year of Dragon, which feeds a television frenzy that culminates in CCTV’s (China Central Television) Spring Festival Show. Watching these shows I noticed that Tencent Weibo–not Sina–is the dominant partner (surely because they paid the most money).
In 2012, Tencent will continue to push forward aggressively in social and present a formidable challenge to Sina. In my first blog post of 2012, let’s have a look at how the two top microblog players in China will fare against each other.
Sina’s chances of challenging Tencent for the mass market are gone. Sina Weibo looks secure with its white-collar audience and media influence, but beyond that all bets are off. Heightened censorship and real-name registration add to its concerns. Moreover, Sina Weibo’s social gaming platform has struggled to gain traction while Tencent’s is taking off: “Social Games: Sorry Sina, Tencent Will Take That Too.”
For ye social media gurus, here’s the story of one mid-western university dipping its toe into Chinese social media. Erin Holaday Ziegler of the public relations department at University of Kentucky’s answered a few questions about how her university approached the venture.
Sina Weibo has changed an unbelievable amount this year. The most apparent was the major user interface revamp from 3.0 to 4.0, which adopts an SNS-style design, closer to Facebook.
But the most important change was the move to mobile clients, both the official one and third-party apps. These apps has changed user behavior, altered their approach to mobile networking. Chinese users with a Weibo account are much more likely to upload photos and share location information.
On last Friday, Follow 5′s operation manager Bi Yang (毕扬) announced on Sina Weibo that their servers will shut down in 30 days. This is the first major casualty of the Microblog War in China, and the death of an innovative startup that had so much potential. I wrote this post over the weekend to share how an innovative startup dies in China.
tips [at] techrice [dot] com