Sina says WeChat will dig into Weibo usage, but reckons it has critical mass



Sina has admitted that competition from Tencent’s increasingly popular WeChat app is cutting into the time people spend on its Sina Weibo microblogging platform. It says however that it’s not too worried because it already has a mass following.

Speaking in a conference call after the company had announced its Q4 2012 financial results, Sina chairman and CEO Charles Chao said that the drops in time people spend on Weibo were “inevitable” given the popularity of its rival’s app. But with 400-million users, Chao reckons that Sina Weibo has hit critical mass.

In fact, as Marbridge Daily recently noted, the latest version of Sina Weibo’s Android app comes with support for WeChat.

Chao says including support for a competitive product just made sense, given the philosophy behind Sina Weibo:

There’s competition in the market and we want to provide the best service [to our users]. We said from the beginning that we want to share and be an open platform… and we believe that a lot of services should be connected. Many Weibo users are WeChat users, and vice versa, so if we open this sharing [option] up then it will improve the user experience.

The WeChat option is set to roll out to more mobile clients in the near future.

One marked difference between the two services is that WeChat seems to have been much more aggressive in its push into overseas territories.

Sina Weibo was, at one stage, on course to take on the world. But it stalled on launching an English-language version and harsh operating rules handed down by Chinese authorities seemed to scupper any chance of that happening.

If WeChat can learn from Sina’s mistakes then it could well become the Chinese platform that takes on, and potentially beats, everything the West has to offer.

Another interesting titbit to come out of the conference call was the fact that Sina now has 300 000 Weibo enterprise customers, up from 230 000 in the previous quarter. It’s these customers that Sina will be leaning on when it launches the Twitter-like promoted trends which it reckons will be especially enticing to “bigger customers”.

Source: The Next Web



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