The growth stats for most things in China is phenomenal, but few compare to Sina Weibo. Launched less than 3 years ago in August 2009, Sina Weibo already has more users than the population of the USA – more than 324 million registered users in China as at May 16, 2012. And they’re the 324 million most educated, highest incomes and largest consumers in China – exactly the customers most western businesses are targeting. They account for more than half of China’s Internet population.
And Weibo growth rates are showing no signs of abating. As many as 20 million users, the population of Australia, join Weibo each month to post, comment and keep a tab on their interests. With a lack of trust in other sources of information, Weibo is influencing decisions in China significantly.
There are numerous theories about the growth of Weibo; many suggest it came from Sina wooing Chinese and other East Asian celebrities to share their lives. However, what has contributed more to Weibo’s growth is that every literate Chinese person with an Internet connection can now have a voice, something they were unable to do in the past.
Weibo has been called “The water cooler of China”. It’s where people spread the news, gossip and their opinions about anything from celebrities, to scandals, to which brands they love and hate. If something is being talked about in China, it’s being talking about on Weibo. As a business investing or thinking about investing in China, it would be an oversight not to stay abreast of your product, competitors and industry on Weibo.