Sina Weibo has over 400-million registered users, although it’s hard to know how many of those are overseas. Nonetheless, today the Twitter-esque Weibo has just rolled out a partial English language interface. A Sina representative in Beijing tells us that “countries in Southeast Asia [can] pick English or Chinese — this isn’t opened globally yet.” But in our test, it’s working in countries like America and South Africa right now.
The Weibo.com frontpage — which has a simpler redesign now — now also has an “English” option in the dropdown menu (access it here), though it doesn’t convert the whole page from Chinese. Then, once logged in, Sina Weibo now has some English in the menus, but the whole interface is far from transformed. But it seems to be a start.
This is how it looks with English, as it appears now. Note that the logo is now in English too:
You can contrast that with how it looks for in China:
In November of 2011, Sina revealed that it had two million users in Hong Kong, though I suspect many of those are using the traditional Chinese text interface.
If Sina Weibo converts its whole UI into English, it could help overseas brands with social marketing to Chinese consumers. This, coupled with the fact that social media tools like Hootsuite now support Sina Weibo, means that justifying including the platform in broader marketing strategies and actually communicating with those millions of users has now become even easier.
Rival microblog Tencent Weibo added a broader English interface in September 2011.
This article by Steven Millward originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.