It seems the dominance of men in China’s boardrooms is also reflected on China’s most important communication channel, Sina Weibo. Weibo’s runaway popularity and influence has seen the leading voices on Weibo also become some of the leading voices in China.
A 2012 Fudan University study into the Opinion Leaders of Chinese Micro Blogs measured Weibo identities. Criteria was based on their circle of influence in traditional media and on the Internet, relationships with Weibo fans and other Weibo users, active participation and contentiousness of topics raised.
The report, led by Zhang Zhi’an, concluded that males have significantly more influence on Sina Weibo. The top 20 bloggers are all men, as are 91 of the top-100. The most influential bloggers are aged between 30 and 40, accounting for 72 of the top 100.
Media people on Weibo have the largest fan count and post news from the most sources. Although there are more entrepreneurs on the list, much of their fan base is low quality; this is both inactive fans and ‘fictitious fans’ – a social media issue in most parts of the world, where fake fans and followers have been created to give the perception of increased popularity. The study accounted for this issue.
Although Government agencies, party organs and individual officials have set up more than 50,000 weibo accounts (Source: The Economist), no Government official is among the top-100.
Women should definitely not be ignored on Weibo, especially for businesses, as they are more likely to share product and brand information.
Top-5 most influential microbloggers on Sina Weibo
1. Pan Shiyi, Businessman (chairman of Soho China) Fans: 11.7 million
2. Jack Ma (Ma Yun) Businessman (founder and chairman of Alibaba) Fans: 6.5 million
3. Ren Zhiqiang, Businessman (chairman of Huayuan Real Estate Co) Fans: 9.1 million
4. Li Kaifu, Businessman (former Google China president and now CEO of Innovation Works) Fans: 14.8 million
5. Lang Xianping, Scholar, leading economist. Fans: 11.2 million
1. Hong Huang, Publisher, TV host, author. Fans: 5.2 million
2. Luqiu Luwei, Journalist, executive news editor for Phoenix Television. Fans: 1.8 million
3. Ren Xiaowen, Novelist. Fans: 0.1 million
4. Li Yinhe, Researcher, leading Sexologist. Fans: 0.6 million
5. Zhang Xin, Business-woman, found of real estate company Soho China: 4.0 million