China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo concedes slowing growth

Earlier reports suggested traffic to Sina Weibo was falling, amid a government crackdown on online rumors

The Sina Weibo logo.

The Sina Weibo logo.

Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, conceded Tuesday that user growth has been slowing. The social networking platform, however, dispelled reports that the company was seeing its user base decline as a result of a government crackdown on online rumors.

The site boasts over 300 million registered users, with many of them from mainland China. But while the site has gained a reputation as one of the hottest Internet products in the country, research from an Internet regulator in January pointed to a possible decline in its popularity.

At the end of 2013, users of China's microblogging sites fell by 9 percent year-over-year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

Two weeks later, The Telegraph newspaper released research that showed that the number of active users on Sina Weibo may have plummeted by as much 70 percent last year. The study examined the activity of 1.6 million users.

The reports came as Sina Weibo has been facing competition from WeChat, a Chinese mobile messaging service that also boasts 300 million users. In addition, local authorities have regularly launched campaigns to clean up so-called "rumors" on Sina Weibo. The harshest measures have included arresting users guilty of allegedly fabricating fake content.

Despite the challenges, the social networking site's operator, Sina Corp., said on Tuesday that use of the microblogging service is actually going up. From September to December, daily active users grew on Sina Weibo by 4.2 percent, reaching 61.4 million.

During an earnings call, Sina CEO Charles Chao suggested that it were rival Twitter-like services in China that contributed to the decline in microblogging use. He estimated that there were over 20 different such sites in the country.

As for the third-party reports on Sina Weibo's falling user traffic, Chao said the company's own figures were more accurate, and compiled from the entire user base.

But while Sina Weibo may still be attracting traffic, its user growth rate is on the decline. The 4.2 percent increase in daily active users from September to December is the lowest quarter-over-quarter growth rate Sina Weibo has seen in its history, Chao said.

"There is no question the user base growth is slowing down," he added. In response, the company is focusing on accelerating Sina Weibo's user growth this year. It has already found some success in partnering with local TV programs to promote the microblogging service, Chao said.

"So far it has been working." he added. "We are seeing a lot of hope that we can continue to grow our use base and user engagement if we do things properly."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesregulationsocial networkingSina Corpgovernmentsocial mediainternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?