Sina Weibo

Sina Weibo, one of the most popular online social networks in China, has recently become a critical medium for Internet users to disseminate and discuss breaking news, social events, and other information. Sina Weibo users are young.

Quick Facts

Summary

  • Ranked #246th worldwide
  • Active users 550 M
  • Type Social networks
  • Launched date 14 Aug, 2009
  • Employees 5,073
  • Headquarters Shanghai and Beijing, China
  • Parent company Sina Corp

Founders

person
Charles Guowei Chao Shanghai

Networks

  • Brand value In 2020 N/A
  • Revenue in 2020 $1.69 b
  • Net loss In 2020 $1.23 m

Internet Censorship

Internet CensorshipInternet censorship in China. (via shutterstock.com)

In cooperation with internet censorship in China, Sina Weibo sets strict controls over the posts on its services.

Posts with links using some URL shortening services (including Google's goo.gl), or containing blacklisted keywords, are not allowed on Sina Weibo. Posts on politically sensitive topics are deleted after manual checking.

On 23 Jul 2011, a high-speed train derailed in the coastal city of Wenzhou, leaving at least 40 people dead and 172 injured. In the wake of the accident, Chinese officials banned journalists from investigating, telling them to use only information “released from authorities”.

On 16 Mar 2012, all users of Sina Weibo in Beijing were told to register with their real names.

On 8 Sep 2017, Weibo gave an ultimatum to its users to verify their accounts with their real names by 15 Sep.

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

After the Jul 2009 Ürümqi riots, China shut down most domestic microblogging services, including Fanfou, the very first weibo service. Many popular non-China-based microblogging services like Twitter, Facebook, and Plurk have since been blocked.

Sina Corporation CEO Charles Chao considered this to be an opportunity, and on 14 Aug 2009, Sina launched the tested version of Sina Weibo.

On 1 Dec 2010, the website experienced an outage, which administrators later said was due to the ever-increasing numbers of users and posts. Registered users surpassed 100M in Feb 2011.

On 7 Apr 2011, weibo.com replaced t.sina.com.cn as the new main domain name used by the website.

In Jun 2011, Sina released an English-language version of Sina Weibo in which content would be monitored by Chinese law.

Brief History

2009
Aug Sina Weibo, launched by Sina Corp.
2010
Jul A Sina Weibo-compatible API platform was launched.
Dec Facebook expanded to Columbia, Stanford and Yale.
2011
Feb 100M users.
Mar t.cn has been used as Sina Weibo's official shortened URL instead of “sinaurl.cn”.

GyPSii partnered with Sina.com to launch WeiLingDi and TuDing.

Apr New domain name weibo.com.

The official logo was also updated.

Jun Developed an English-language version.
2012
Mar All users of Sina Weibo in Beijing were told to register with their real names.

The comment function was shut down for three days.

May 368M registered users.
Jun Weibo launched a paid VIP membership scheme.
Oct Blocking searches in Chinese for Foxconn strikes.
2013
Feb 500M registered users.
Apr Alibaba Group bought into Sina Weibo with US$586M.
Jun Blocked the terms "Today," "Tonight," "June 4," and "Big Yellow Duck."
2014
Mar Announced "Weibo", and filed an IPO under the symbol WB.
Apr The company began trading publicly.
2015
Jul Weibo implemented a change at the behest of the Chinese government.
Jun Partnering with Taobao.com, VIP.com and Jumei.com, launched Weibo Window.
2016
Jan A user may post with 2,000 characters.
2017
Sep Weibo ordered users to register their real names.
2018
Feb Provided a "Comment moderation" function for both head users and official members.
Mar 400M monthly active users.
Apr Began a crackdown on anime, games, and short videos depicting "pornography, gore, violence, and homosexuality".
Nov Suspended its registration function for minors under the age of 14.
2020
Jun The Cybersecurity Administration of China ordered Weibo to suspend its "trending topics" page for a week.

Network Features

Profile

ProfileWeibo Profile. (via weibo.com)

Basic information of the user such as Alias, Gender, and Location. Users can also add featured photos, hobbies, hot topics, and posts.

The About - A catchy hook, your personal story, your mission, motivation, and skills. Activity - The number of followers you, articles, posts, documents.

Trending Topics

Trending TopicsWeibo trending. (via weibo.com)

The Discover function acts as a comprehensive search engine within Weibo, it groups hot topics and sorts them into different categories, such as Entertainment, News, and Sports.

Trending Topics is a list of current popular topics based partly on tracking user participation and partly on the preference of Weibo staff. Once a topic is trending, it often becomes a heated issue and can have wide-ranging social influence.

Weibo Story

Weibo StoryWeibo story. (via dragonsocial.net)

Weibo Story is a video function allowing users to record a video and save them in a separate "Story" menu on their profile page.

Weibo users can share a 15-second photo or short video with followers, which disappears after 24 hours. Users can apply filters, geotags, text, and hashtags, and the story can be saved to an album on the user’s profile.

Game Center

Game CenterWeibo game center. (via weibo.com)

Game Center provides a variety of online games for users. On the platform, there are games with focuses ranging from the NBA to Pokemon, which has attracted huge groups of people to log in and stay on the platform for longer periods.



Weibo Fit: records sports and health data like walking distance and calories burnt.

Verification: Sina Weibo has a verification policy for confirming the identity of a user (celebrities, organizations, etc.). Once a user is verified, a colorful “V” is appended to their username; individuals receive an orange “V”, while organizations and companies receive a blue “V”.

There are several kinds of verifications: Personal College Organization Verification for official accounts (government departments, social media platforms, and famous companies). Weibo Master (linked with phone numbers and followers).



Weibo Window (微博橱窗) is a function allowing brands to upload products from their catalog to their page. Sellers can manage and track revenue through the platform.

Weibo Wallet: You can make payments within Weibo for any product someone shares or links within the app. You can also pay loans, insurance, buy movie tickets or even book an online appointment with a doctor.

All you will have to do is link your credit card or Alipay account to your Weibo account.

The Service

Weilingdi (微领地), a Chinese language location-based mobile social networking application that allows users to share their location and status, broadcast events and updates, find friends and earn rewards points and badges.

Sina's Tuding (图钉) photo-sharing service, similar to Instagram, is also produced by the same joint venture.



Sina Lady Weibo (新浪女性微博): specializing in women's interests.

Weibo Data Center (a paid service): enables users to access data analysis about a topic of their choice, Sina Weibo's official data, and demographic information.

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