Who Cares About Weibo?

China has moved on from Weibo, and so has the rest of the world,  according to Charlie Custer at China Geeks. A recent move to allow users to login using Facebook is “too little, too late”.  Sina didn’t even extend its reach to the local southeast Asian market, which would have likely snapped it up, and it was based on a philosophy that the Chinese market is big enough, which is a big mistake, writes Custer:

A couple of years ago, Weibo was buzzing. Even outside China, lots of people were talking about it. But despite the interest from overseas pundits, brands, and social media watchers, Sina made pretty much no attempt to make the service accessible to anyone other than Chinese people.

[…] Sina’s laser-like focus on the Chinese market two years ago prevented it from building up what probably could have been a significant market overseas. Was Weibo ever going to overtake Twitter in the United States? Probably not. But the service had enough unique features that it might well have gained a cult following, and I suspect it could have performed especially well in some of Southeast Asia’s developing countries.

WeChat’s success overseas despite the fact that the American chat app Whatsapp came first is proof that a Chinese company taking overseas markets seriously can still succeed there. And the good news for Tencent now is that even if China’s government implements regulations that drive domestic users away, the app now has a massive userbase overseas that it can turn to. I bet Sina wishes it was in a similar position, and it probably could have been if it had actually tried.

This is something I see frequently with Chinese tech companies. The rationale tends to be that China’s market is already big enough, and that Chinese companies don’t tend to do well overseas. I don’t dispute either of those points. But China’s market being big is meaningless if you are regulated out of it. And part of the reason for Chinese companies’ lack of success overseas is that most of them barely try. [Source]

Read the full article at Tech In Asia, here.

WeChat, meanwhile, is pushing itself into the global market with ads featuring Argentinian soccer super star Lionel Messi:

Read more about Sina Weibo and WeChat via CDT.


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