Sina Weibo sees usage surge

21 February 2013

BEIJING: Sina Weibo, China's leading microblogging platform, saw a 73% rise in registered accounts during 2012, taking this total past 503m overall.

These figures were released during a conference call for the fourth quarter for Sina, the online media company which owns the site.

Charles Chao, Sina's CEO, reported that the number of daily active users of its Weibo service had grown by 82% to reach 46.2m by December, when three quarters of active users accessed the platform via mobile.

He acknowledged that the rate of growth had slowed during the fourth quarter, to 9%, which he attributed to competition from other popular mobile SMS applications such as WeChat.

Nonetheless, he declared: "We believe that Weibo has reached a critical mass, and will continue to grow in user base and user activities given the network size, especially with more adoption of mobile internet and the formation of ecosystems surrounding the Weibo platform."

Sina also began to monetise Weibo traffic during 2012, through advertising and value-added services such as gaming, revenue sharing and a membership fee, all of which generated $66m.

The growth in Weibo advertising was driven by the addition of new advertisers, the company reported, with the automobile, internet and financial services sectors performing particularly well.

Chao also noted a "tremendous growth in terms of mobile advertising on Weibo during the Chinese New Year".

The company predicts that display advertising will continue to account for the bulk of advertising expenditure in the first half of 2013. Mobile will also contribute at least 30% of revenues in the first quarter.

Weibo "is not only a killer application for mobile internet usage," said Chao, "but also has great potential for monetisation of mobile terminals."

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff