China’s Sohu: losing the microblog battle, but planning a comeback

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If you know anything about the Chinese social media space it’s probably that Tencent and Sina rule the microblogging space. If things had turned out a little differently though, there could well have been a third big player.

In a recent earnings call, Sohu CEO Charles Zhang admitted that his company had lost out in the microblogging space over the past two years.

The company, which also offers advertising, a search engine, and on-line multiplayer gaming, launched its microblogging or weibo platform in early 2010. It’s unclear how far behind Sohu is given that it doesn’t release its numbers. Given the way Zhou spoke about it though, it’s clear that things haven’t gone to plan. “We did lose the battle of the micro-blog battlefield for the last two years,” he said.

That said, Sohu hasn’t completely given up on making an impact in the weibo space. “We hope that we will come back with our usual strategy of the Media 2.0 social network type of services,” said Zhou. “It all depends on whether we can maintain or become a more innovative organization”.

That kind of self-belief is hardly surprising given that the company was ranked third and 12th fastest-growing company by Fortune in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

According to Zhou, the company is also China’s “leading news provider” and is experiencing “very good growth in the area of mobile”.

Image: Bigstock

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