In China, Celebrities connect with their fans on Sina Weibo

What is Sina Weibo?

Weibo logo

Sina Weibo fills the role of Twitter and Facebook in China: it is a microblogging website and is part of the most popular Chinese websites. Although you can find other services for microblogging such as Sohu Weibo, NetEase Weibo or Tencent Weibo, what media refer to as “Weibo” is Sina Weibo.

A few numbers

  • Sina Weibo was launched by Sina Corporation in 2009.
  • Two years later, its domain name (t.sina.com.cn) was changed for weibo.com. That same year, Sina Weibo already accounted for 56.5% of the market.
  • In 2012, more than 500 million Internet users had registered on Weibo and 100 million messages were broadcasted daily on the platform.
  • Alibaba Group bought 32% of Sina Weibo in May 2014.

Read as well: Introduction to Weibo Marketing for Brands

Weibo for members

A constantly growing audience

Sina Weibo sees its number of monthly active users grow steadily, and it has reached 212 million in the summer of 2015. Several factors can explain this development: user experience was improved, lower-tiered cities were targeted and partnerships with actors in the entertainment business were signed (television and movie industries). These companies have helped promote Weibo’s name, leading to an increase in revenue of 163% and in reach with the total number of users going up to 443,000 in 2015.

Account verification process

Just like Twitter, Sina Weibo verifies accounts that are created. After passing through this process, a V symbol will appear behind their username: a blue one for companies and organizations and an orange one for individual accounts.

Weibo verified account

Celebrities on Weibo

You can follow your contacts as well as your favorite stars on Sina Weibo. Once users become a fan of a celebrity, they will post on their own timeline; they will then be able to like the content, repost it or comment on it.

The two most popular Chinese celebrities gather more than 78 million fans each on their Weibo account: they have the world’s biggest fanbase. In comparison, Western celebrities’ worldwide fanbases reach 77.5 million fans for Katy Perry, 65.9 million for Taylor Swift, or 65.8 million for Barack Obama.

Weibo Yao Chen account

Chinese actress Yao Chen’s Weibo account

A growing number of foreign celebrities open Weibo accounts. They usually let marketing agency handle their social media strategy in China, it is the case for Jason Mraz for example, Avril Lavigne or Robert Downey Jr. It appears David Beckham is an exception among its peers, as he sends his own posts.

Weibo’s KOLs

Just as Key Opinion Leaders matter on other social media platforms, they are very important on Weibo too. They are followed by many loyal fans, which makes them wonderful leverage for the brand’s digital marketing strategies.

Weibo Angelababy KOL

Fashion KOL Angelababy’s Weibo account

Further readings :

 Digital marketing agency in Shanghai

2 Comments

  1. Very interesting topic! I always through Weibo was overrated and less and less used bu Chinese people, would you still recommend to use Weibo for business in China in 2020?

    1. Definitly,

      Weibo is one the Veteran of chinese Social media.
      The platform is great at reinventing itself and offering innovative tools to users: live streaming, weibo store, kols patnership with Taobao etc
      The app is also one of chinese netizen favorite to debate.
      The ads systeme is avantagous for brands
      Its relatively easy to gain visibility & be commercial there

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