With the rise of China, the perception of Chinese brands is fast changing. Where ten years ago, one would struggle to think of a Chinese brand, today companies like Hisense and Huawei are gaining world wide recognition and are comparable with their international counterparts.
This is also true in the social media arena, where Chinese companies have stepped up to fill the void of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram whose access has been blocked in the country. While Instagram isn’t blocked in China, its future in the country is uncertain, due to Facebook’s ownership of the photo-sharing application.
Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter is one of the success stories. Sina Weibo literally translates to ‘New Wave microblog’. The social network was launched in 2009, and had 368 million registered users as of mid 2012. Twitter on the other hand, was launched in 2006 and had 500 million registered users as of 2012. Due to the large Chinese market, Weibo’s growth has been more rapid than Twitter’s and celebrities and businesses have started to realise the potential in having a Weibo account.
To date, celebrities like Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise and Emma Watson have Weibo accounts. Adidas, Unilever and Louis Vuitton are amongst the companies who are using Weibo to reach the Chinese market.
Weibo is essentially a combination of Twitter and Facebook, allowing users to post 140 Chinese character messages, as well as post emoticons, pictures, videos and polls. There is also a chat feature, similar to Facebook chat.
Celebrities have a dedicated page called ‘Hall of Fame’ and are categorised into entertainment, sport, finance, tech and so on. Weibo may initially look quite confusing (mainly due to the language) but all posts are categorised making it relatively easy to find what you’re looking for.
The obvious downside of Weibo is the significant censorship of posts by the government. But as someone replied to Tom Cruise when he questioned the Weibo community about posting etiquette: “Dear Mr. Cruise, As for posting etiquette, I don’t think you should have to worry about that. As long as you don’t post anything offensive religiously, politically, culturally :) Welcome to Weibo”.
Check out some celebrity and company Weibo accounts here:
Tom Cruise: http://weibo.com/officialtomcruise
Justin Bieber: http://www.weibo.com/justinbiebercn
Adam Levine: http://www.weibo.com/adamlevinecn
Louis Vuitton: http://e.weibo.com/1836003984/app_3653572426
Know of any other celebrities with a Weibo account? Tell us in the comments below!
For current Weibo users, would you like to see PastBook connected with Weibo, so that you can print your Weibo photos and memories into a customer made photo album?
What other social networks would you like to see PastBook configured with?