Can Weibo do better than Twitter?

China’s microblogging giant faces ever stiffer competition for advertising revenue

9/25/2020 3:57:00 PM

Weibo (literally “microblog” in Chinese) boasted an average of 241m daily active users in March, more than Twitter

China’s microblogging giant faces ever stiffer competition for advertising revenue

HREE YEARSafter Twitter launched in 2006, Chinese techies created a similar microblogging service in China. Weibo (literally “microblog” in Chinese) boasted an average of 241m daily active users in March, more than Twitter. Like its American cousin, Weibo allows users to follow other users, tweet, retweet and browse a real-time list of trending topics (though it steers clear of politics, out of bounds in its communist homeland). And like Twitter, it relies heavily on advertising revenue.

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So as coronavirus-induced uncertainty led advertisers to slash budgets, Weibo saw advertising revenue, which accounts for nearly 90% of sales, plunge. In the first quarter it fell by a fifth year on year, to $275m. Operating profit plummeted by more than half, to $58m. Delayed second-quarter results, due on September 28th, may be less terrible. China was the first to be hit by covid-19 but began to recover just as the West went into lockdown.

But Weibo also confronts a longer-term challenge. Yujun Shao of Westwin, a Shanghai-based digital-marketing firm, notes that for much of the past decade two firms—Weibo and Tencent (which owns WeChat, a messaging service)—sucked in the vast majority of advertising spending on Chinese social media. Today the “big two” are competing for ad yuan with another behemoth, ByteDance, which operates Douyin, an addictive short-video app (as well as TikTok, its global version). Other rising internet stars, such as Pinduoduo, which offers bargain shopping, are also muscling in on the advertising market.

Weibo already boasts more than half a billion registered users in China. But user growth has slowed. To keep advertisers on board, Weibo must therefore boost user engagement. The company understands this. It already sports a richer array of functions than Twitter, for example a popular question-and-answer service in the mould of Quora. It is constantly adding new ones. In 2018 it acquired Yizhibo, in which people live-stream stand-up comedy, moonwalks and other acts for tips. Last year it launched a photo-sharing service akin to Instagram called Oasis. Still, Weibo’s revenues per user have been declining since 2018, and its share price with them (see chart). That is one more feature it has in common with Twitter—but is the opposite of what you would expect from a platform with strong network effects, such as Facebook.

Read more: The Economist »

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than no I sure don't want a PayPal-Twitter or Instagram-Twitter or Geotrack-location-Twitter or CCP-Censorship-Twitter like Weibo's. Social media already drains the human soul too much. Let the Chinese have all the soul-crushing apps backed by their dictatorship. sounds horrible A 'richer array of functions' is the 2nd-*last* thing I want! (Advertising is the Last!) That's why Twitter suits me fine.

did a bot write this? Wow it makes no sense. Can weibo do better than Twitter? Maybe in China where Twitter is blocked. If Twitter were suddenly unblocked I think even in China weibo would probably fall to the wayside... Weibo, comin throu Weibo is having more number of daily users greater than the twitter has on total basis..

Chinese netizens can see the world, but the world cannot see China. You can’t proofread one sentence before publishing? It is improper to compare Twitter with weibo, because weibo is an online news and comments aggregator,theres no social media in China iloveHK3333 In weibo, you would enjoy the ccp censorship😣

In terms of censorship, Weibo undoubtedly does better than any social media in the world FreedomOfSpeech Considering the CCP owns and controls Weibo and has always banned Facebook and Twitter, ya, Weibo will do better than Twitter in the PRC. the wall is getting so wide,so the rest of world became living in the walls

FUCK me, is this another joke? そりゃ中国だけで13億人いるんだから当たり前のことを記事にしても仕方ないでしょw Congress was looting country, then BJP came and said 'Ye mein kar deta hoon, tab tak aap Dream11 pe team banao'😉 垃圾微博的数据你也信? मै किसानों के साथ हूँ 🙏🙏 What about free speech? Does weibo allow has market only in china cannot be expanded while Twitter holds huge potential.

Reminder; Twitter is blocked in China. (Except to the Chinese government). The people have no choice but to use 'Weibo'.

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