China’s version of Twitter is now more valuable than real Twitter, serving as a sharp reminder of the growing power of rising tech giants in China.
Weibo Corporation, which manages the popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, has a higher market cap, or company value, than Twitter Inc., reports Tech in Asia.
Founded in 2009, Weibo’s rise has been as meteoric as the country in which it originated. The site was launched a little over one month after Twitter was blocked in China. Weibo provides Twitter-like services and mimics Facebook, another foreign site banned in China.
Each day, thousands upon thousands of Chinese citizens post on Weibo. It is overshadowed by its chief domestic competitor, WeChat, which is owned by Tencent and is used by almost all Chinese internet users. Weibo appears to be doing much better than its main foreign competitor.
In 2014, Weibo had a value of $3.4 billion, much lower than Twitter’s $26.8 billion.
Twitter lost 5 million active users over the past year, bringing its total number of users to 313 million. Weibo, on the other hand, gained 70 million users and now has 282 million active users, with 90 percent of that group accessing Weibo using mobile devices.
Twitter’s ongoing search for a buyer has reportedly added to the company’s instability.
Chinese tech companies benefit from strong domestic support and significant investments, as well as an internet user base of about 800 million. As American enterprises like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been forced to operate beyond the “Great Firewall of China,” Chinese tech companies essentially have independent access to Chinese customers.
Weibo’s revenue is up 45 percent over last year, with marked increases in advertising revenue. Weibo is actually worth more than its parent company Sina Corp, which has a market cap of only $5.34 billion.
Together, Weibo and WeChat are redefining social networking in China.
While Weibo may have Twitter on the run, it has a long way to go to catch up with giants like Facebook. Tencent, the nearest rival, has a company value $100 billion lower than that of Facebook.
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