Lady Gaga is the most popular Twitter user with over 7.8 million followers. Similarly, in China, the most popular microblog user is a film and TV actress, Yao Chen. She has over 5 million people following her on Sina Weibo or Sina Microblog in just 6 months. Here is an article about it in local news: http://tech.sina.com.cn/i/2011-01-28/14345144372.shtml.
It seems, actually, there is not much difference between China and the rest of the world. We all like beautiful women. And we all like to spread news (or rumours) in short messages. According to Mirae Asset, 14% of Chinese internet are microblog users today. Of which, Sina’s Microblog (Sina Weibo) has 54% of the total users and Tencent’s has 21%. But if we take into account usage rate (i.e. pageviews), Sina Weibo has 87% of the market and Tencent’s has just 8%.
This might be partly due to the nature of Tencent’s users. Most of them are younger and less educated. They might not enjoy the microblog as much as the more mature and sophisticated users of Sina.
Besides actors and actresses sharing their private lifes with their fans, a lot of people use Sina Weibo to discuss property and car. (Another sign the Sina users are the more affluent group.) Many major industry conferences in China also use Sina Weibo to facilitate discussion among participants.
And mobile phone is the perfect device for microblog. 40% of Sina Weibo’s traffic came from mobile devices in the fourth quarter last year.