What is Sina Weibo? Know Your Chinese Social Media!

What is Sina Weibo

Are you wondering what is Sina Weibo? Is Chinese Social Media a jungle of information for you?

Look no further! In this weeks’ blog article by China Gravy, we take a deep dive into Sina Weibo, the second-largest social media platform in China. But watch out, Douyin respectively TikTok, the Chinese short video apps, is starting to catch up fast!

Know Your Chinese Social Media

To begin with, the number of users of social networking platforms worldwide is rising without an end in sight. The number of social network users is projected to surpass 3 billion in 2021.

With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular social media worldwide. At the same time, the number one Chinese social media platform WeChat alone has more than 1 billion monthly active users. This means, that almost every Chinese is using this app and social media in general.

To boost the local economy and to provide politically-correct content for its citizens, China set up the Great Firewall of China and internet censorship. As a result, the top social media platforms in the Western world like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube cannot be reached in China since 2008. So, today, Chinese social media and e-commerce platforms are booming in China and around the world.

Social Media in China

Generally, the 5 most popular Chinese social media sites are:

  1. WeChat (since 2011) – the Facebook of China & the app for everything
  2. Sina Weibo (since 2009) – the Chinese Twitter
  3. Douyin resp. TikTok (since 2016) – Chinese short video app
  4. Mafengwo (since 2010) – the Chinese TripAdvisor
  5. Xiaohongshu aka RED (since 2013) – the Chinese all-round social media and e-commerce platform

What is Sina Weibo?

To begin with, “Weibo” (微博) means “micro-blog” in Chinese. Launched by Sina Corporation in 2009, Sina Weibo, or simply Weibo is a microblogging website and app which compares to Twitter and Instagram. And with more than 300 million monthly active users, it is China’s biggest social media platform after Tencent’s WeChat.

In comparison to WeChat, Sina Weibo is mostly used by a younger population. It offers more informational and trending content. Likewise, Weibo allows businesses to set up official and verified accounts to communicate with their followers and advertise their products and services.

What’s on Sina Weibo?

Weibo users value these main features:

  • 140 characters limit per post
  • Posting images
  • Instant messaging
  • Following people and official accounts
  • Weibo stories
  • Use (location-based) hashtags
  • “Trending Topics”

In 2013, the Alibaba Group, the largest e-commerce platform in the world, acquired an 18% stake in Sina Weibo. This deal is expected to drive more web traffic to Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace, the largest e-commerce website in China with a consumer focus.

Today, together with TouTiao, Sina Weibo is one of China’s dominant sources of news content. Weibo is also a huge financial success, surpassing the 30 billion USD market valuation at the stock market.

How You can Benefit from Sina Weibo

Your business can benefit from reaching a wide audience on Sina Weibo. The 5 main ways to increase brand awareness and gain visibility on Weibo are:

  1. Weibo Influencer Campaigns: Working with Chinese influencers, Wanghongs, and Key Opinion Leaders (KOL marketing), allows you to reach a younger population in China.
  2. Weibo Paid Ads: They work similarly to WeChat ads. To attract more followers, there are 3 types of paid ads options available on Weibo Paid Ads:
    • Fensi Tong (粉丝通): this allows more specific targeting options, including interests, gender, location, and devices.
    • Sponsored Post: Promotes content to current followers and/or potential followers.
    • Weibo Tasks: Grow your followers by paying other accounts to repost
  3. Weibo Lottery: Connect with your audience by letting them win prizes.
  4. Cross-Promotion: Sina Weibo is a great commerce platform for B2C promotion. And it also works well for B2B promotion.
  5. Organic Growth: Posts with higher engagement will reach more Weibo users. It is therefore vital to continuously improve the content quality.

Either way, you will have to set up an account first. Let’s take a look at that.

Individual and Business Accounts

Depending on your account verification status, you Weibo users can modify their Sina Weibo profile appearance and enjoy different privileges. According to their package, businesses can benefit from specific promotions, events, coupons, private messages, data analysis, and social listening.

  1. Individuals: Personal and private accounts
    • Personal users – FREE
    • KOLs – FREE
    • Grass root media – FREE
    • Grass root media partners – FREE
    • Superstar KOLs – FREE
  2. Businesses: Business accounts are suitable for companies, nonprofits, and government institutions. Note that there are different prices for Chinese companies and foreign companies.
    • Basic – 300 RMB (~40 USD) resp. 1,000 USD
    • Medium – 5,000 RMB (~700 USD): additional VIP phone customer service
    • Advanced – 9,800 RMB (1,400 USD): additional annual membership

The Takeaway

Now you know what is Sina Weibo and you got an insight into Chinese Social Media.

Learn more about doing business in China and Chinese business, please read our article about Chinese Business Culture. If you’re not sure where to start with doing business in China or digitalization, China Gravy is the digital marketing agency that you can trust!

Our Services For Your Business

We are here for you, so you can kickstart your business in the Middle Kingdom!

  1. First, China Gravy can set up a Sina Weibo business account for you.
  2. Secondly, we run Sina Weibo advertising, influencer campaigns, lotteries, and cross-promotions for you.
  3. Moreover, China Gravy is also here to adjust your existing website or create a Chinese website for you. This includes hosting your website in Hong Kong or mainland China. 
  4. Besides, we are happy to provide fresh Chinese content or translate existing content into Chinese for you.
  5. Finally, if you are new to the Chinese market, you can benefit from our expertise. We have many Chinese marketing tips for Western companies and we are excited to assist you to develop a strategy to conquer the Chinese market.

Contact China Gravy today to develop your individual China market entry strategy!

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