Weibo is not Twitter of China with Matthew Brennan

Weibo is not Twitter of China with Matthew Brennan
Matthew Brennan from China Channel discussed Weibo and why this major Chinese social media platform is not the "Twitter of China" & at the same time, more successful than Twitter.

Matthew Brennan from China Channel & host of China Tech Talk podcast joined us on a discussion on Sina Weibo and why it is not the “Twitter” of China. We discussed the origins, the products, revenue & business models in Weibo, and how it was spun off from its parent company, Sina. Matthew also explained why Weibo has been far more successful than Twitter and where it stands against the other Chinese social platforms for example, Wechat.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Matthew Brennan, Co-founder of China Channel dot co (, @MattyBGooner , Linkedin, Wechat:Yowdy-CQ) [0:38]
  • Weibo (Wikipedia, Bloomberg) [4:41]
    • Introduction: Sina Weibo, started off as a Chinese micro-blogging site in 2009 otherwise known as the Twitter of China. Originally owned by Sina corp, and now it is spun off into a public listed company on 17 April 2014 in NASDAQ US, currently at market capitalisation of US$16.98B. According to China Daily, Weibo has now 340M monthly active users which overtakes Twitter with 328M monthly active users to date.  From the same article, the total revenue of Weibo in the first quarter reached 1.37 billion yuan (~ US$200 million), a 76 percent rise over the first quarter 2016. Weibo’s profits increased 278% during the same period. Both stats exceeded Wall Street expectations. The advertising revenues for Weibo reached 1.17 billion yuan, increasing 80% year-on-year.
    • Let’s talk about the backstory, How did Weibo started off as a project within Sina and subsequently become a public listed company on its own? (Also check out Charles Chao, founder & CEO of Sina made a bet on Weibo on Bloomberg decrypted podcast) [5:28]
    • How does Weibo work as a micro-blogging service for Chinese users? [9:49]
    • What are the major product features of Weibo? [11:52]
      • Live-streaming
      • Microblogging
      • Chat with people
      • Book a taxi (Didi)
      • Ecommerce with Taobao
      • Recent introduction of stories (cloned from Snapchat and Instagram)
    • What are the revenue streams for Weibo? [13:43]
      • Advertising
      • Key opinion leaders (KOLs) economy.
    • How does Weibo deal with regulation and content that is sensitive to the Chinese government, for example, Winnie the Pooh? [15:40]
    • What can Twitter learn from Weibo? [16:48]
    • How is Weibo compared to other major platforms such as Wechat, QQ? [19:08]
    • Will Weibo or Tencent have the capacity to buy Twitter sometime in the future? [22:28]
  • Closing [24:25]
    • Do you have any recommendations (podcast, books or movies) for my audience? [24:25]
    • How do my audience find you? [26:10]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw & my weibo account)and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Altizen and sign up for their mailing list. Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.