The Rise Of Weibo: Lessons Twitter Can Learn From Chinese Upstart

While both platforms share similar features, such as a 140-character limit on messages, the Beijing-based service has overtaken Twitter in both market influence and user numbers. Weibo, which reported a 30% rise in monthly active users to 340 million in the first quarter of 2017, now has a market capitalization of $16.4 billion. Twitter, which is actually banned in China, has 328 million monthly active users and a $13.5 billion market capitalization. The company is 50% owned by Sina Corporation, a Chinese media company that is also behind one of the country’s largest news sites, Sina.com. With 80% of its total revenue coming from online advertisements, the company reported a 67% rise in total income to $199 million in the last quarter, according to its latest financial results. Twitter Vs. Weibo In Numbers MAU (In mlns) 2017 Q1 Revenue ($mln) Net Income ($mln) Market Capitalization ($bln) Twitter 328 548 -62 13.5 Weibo 340 199 45 16.4 Here are three key reasons for Weibo’s success: Read More: Weibo Advertising Helps Sina Sustain Growth Momentum Richer Content While Twitter has largely remained the same over the years, Weibo has evolved into a multimedia blogging platform with features that combine Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. According to the company, one fashion blogger received almost 8 million yuan ($1.2 million) in digital gifts during Weibo live streaming shows last year. Video advertising now represents close to 20% of Weibo’s total ad revenue, according to the company. Read More: From Alibaba To Weibo: Your A-Z Guide To China's Hottest Internet IPOs No Competition A third reason contributing to Weibo’s rise is censorship – or China’s so-called “Great Firewall.” Aside from Twitter, the country’s censors have also blocked the likes of Youtube and Instagram, freeing Weibo from the kind of competition Twitter is grappling with globally. What’s more, Weibo stands out from WeChat by allowing users to follow and interact with celebrity accounts.

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A Sina Weibo display at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing.(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

In a bid to turn around its slowing business, Twitter could do worse than learn a thing or two from its Chinese rival – the microblogging site, Sina Weibo.

While the U.S. company struggles to grow its user base, which has hovered around 300 million over the past few years, Weibo is thriving.

While both platforms share similar features, such as a 140-character limit on messages, the Beijing-based service has overtaken Twitter in both market influence and user numbers. Weibo, which reported a 30% rise in monthly active users to 340 million in the first quarter of 2017, now has a market capitalization of $16.4 billion. Twitter, which is actually banned in China, has 328 million monthly active users and a $13.5 billion market capitalization.

The company is 50% owned by Sina Corporation, a Chinese media company that is also behind one of the country’s largest news sites, Sina.com. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has a 31% stake, is the second largest shareholder.

Advertisers are also flocking to Weibo. With 80% of its total revenue coming from online advertisements, the company reported a 67% rise in total income to $199 million in the last quarter, according to its latest financial results. In contrast to Twitter’s $62 million loss in the first quarter, it is profitable – Weibo’s net income increased by a whopping 561% to $47 million over the same period.

Twitter Vs. Weibo In Numbers
MAU (In mlns) 2017 Q1 Revenue ($mln) Net Income ($mln) Market Capitalization ($bln)
Twitter 328 548 -62 13.5
Weibo 340 199 45 16.4

Here are three key reasons for Weibo’s success:

Read More: Weibo Advertising Helps Sina Sustain Growth Momentum

Richer Content

While Twitter has largely remained the same over the years, Weibo has evolved into a multimedia blogging platform with features that combine Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. It is also relaxing its 140-character limit and offers users the ability to share more images and video – a reflection of…

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