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.”
Sina Weibo, China’s top microblog, is approaching the next stage of evolution. TechRice has obtained two pieces of information that should shed light on Sina’s next big move.
First, is Sina Weibo’s latest stats. According to Sina & CIC’s latest Sina Weibo White Paper [in Chinese], the site now has over 250 million registered users with 90 million daily posts…
Kandian (看点), by Sina, is an online video site that allows a user to create his or her own TV station, like Justin.tv. The design is creative and refreshing, the best new internet product I’ve experienced since Facebook’s Timeline.
This is a site that will offer a new social experience for Chinese internet users, giving them a video platform that offers limitless possibilities for interactions. Here are Kandian’s (in Chinese, ‘watch a little’) main features.
The shares of Chinese internet companies tanked in September amid acute regulatory uncertainty. In the US, the Justice Department is probing for potential criminal charges against the series of Chinese accounting scandals and frauds in March-May. In China, the government is considering reforms to the VIE corporate structure that could constrain the ability of Chinese firms to raise finance and operate off-shore.
Last week, Qieke, a check-in service invested in by Shanda, blanketed China’s top-tier cities with massive outdoor ads at shopping streets, subway stations, bus stops and airports.
The last time there was such ‘hype’ for an LBS check-in service was the Vodone-backed Linxun. It didn’t go so well. Linxun, launched in May 2010, cut its staff by 2/3 at the end of the year and faded out of view together with a flock of other Foursquare clones.
The good folks at CIC, a research company focused on Chinese social media (full disclosure: also my internship host), have produced a stunning infographic of the social services for 10 top internet companies.
Chinese internet giants often try to be everything to everybody (mission creep, anyone?) and this infographic lays out the wide range of products they attempt.
Jack Xu, founder of the Chinese lite-blog Diandian.com, a close copy of Tumblr, has fired back at the social network Renren for blocking users from sharing any links to Diandian and other selected services.
In the weibo wars, Sina is attacking while Tencent is defending. Sina Weibo is acquiring new users for Sina, while Tencent is channeling existing users to a new service.
An infographic by Edelman (below), copied from an equity report by Credit Suisse [PDF], hammers this point home. Of Tencent Weibo users, 92% are also users of Qzone. In reverse, of Qzone users, 36% are also users of Tencent Weibo.
In other words, Sina can win a new userbase, while the best Tencent can do is not lose.
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