Twitter’s Got Company: Sina Weibo Beats Twitter on Chinese New Year
Sina Weibo might just be the Asian startup name you will hear quite often. The micro-blogging site, which is open primarily to China, has set a new record of 32,312 messages per second beating the record of 25,088 messages per second set by Twitter during the national broadcast of Japanese Anime series, Castle in the Sky.
The feat was achieved in the first minute of the Chinese New Year, during which a whopping 481,207 messages were sent. Between Sina and Tencent Weibo (the rival micro-blogging platform to Sina Weibo) they have 550 million micro-blogging users (or accounts rather). No wonder Twitter, Facebook and Google+ want to enter China so badly.
China has taken to micro-blogging like no country. It has been a new form of self-expression for a country which lives behind a great firewall.
Having a presence on any of these two micro-blogging sites is a must to reach the Chinese consumer. For Internet companies China is a place to be. The country is closing down on 1 billion mobile phone connections and has 513 million users online.
There is an obvious discrepancy between the number of users online (513 million) and number of Weibo (550 million) users. The obvious reason is the number of fake, zombie, duplicate and spam accounts on these Weibo sites. This has been a perennial problem and a problem tantamount to counting chickens. That’s the reason why the micro-blogging sites measure an additional traffic of active users per day. Sina Weibo has 100 million of them.
A new Chinese government regulation might solve the counting problem for these Weibo’s, though unintentionally. The regulation requires users to register with their real names. That would mean many accounts from the 550 million users are likely to disappear. It’s not an easy thing to implement, but if any country can do it, it ought to be China. Google has tried real name policy rather surreptitiously for its Google+ social network. After a prolonged debate Google budged and allowed fake accounts to proliferate.
The only thing that can stop or hamper the growth of the Chinese Weibo’s is China itself. Twitter, Facebook and Google+, which are competing in the same space, have conquered the rest of the world. They couldn’t conquer China because they weren’t invited. If these social networks get into China, it would be an explosive little social game. Of the three Facebook had a better chance. But the real game isn’t when Twitter or Facebook goes to China.
The real game is when Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo release their English versions to conquer rest of the world.