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China’s microblogging services, generically referred to as weibos are big, seriously big. The two most well-known ones, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, both have user numbers to rival those of Twitter. But one you might not have even heard of has just hit the 260-million user mark.
That makes Netease the third largest of China’s weibos, with numbers that most Western social networks can only dream of. According to Tech in Asia, the company puts its leap in numbers down to its weibo service getting a fresh UI and new content channels.
Interestingly though, the company didn’t reveal how many how many of those users are daily visitors. Given this, it might well be that a number of people have just signed in once to check it out and have since stopped using it.
That said, there must still be a fair number of active users. You don’t get to 260-million on the back of once-off sign ups alone.
Netease was founded in 1997 and is probably best known for its search interests and online gaming platform. Earlier this year it also launched a social recommendation service called Fan Fan.
While Netease’s gain are impressive, it’s unlikely that its weibo will unseat the place China’s offering has in the popular imagination. Sina Weibo has celebrity kudos and perhaps, more importantly, the attention of the west — most notably after it was used as a platform for protest in 2011. That’s not an easy combination to beat.