HongKong is warm, and its social media environment is hot. Social Media Week, a global conference connecting people, content and conversations around emerging trends in social and mobile media is now taking place in HongKong (8-12 February, 2011). Being invited to moderate the panel Navigating China Social Media Space, I had a chance listening to the presentation from Meg Lee, the general director of Sina HongKong, who shared her great thoughts and vision on Sina Weibo.

The Power of Weibo

Meg Lee shared with us a few cases to show the power of Weibo:

  • Social Impact – In April 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Yushu in Qinghai province. The news were being updated and spreaded widely and quickly. Over 310,000 blessing posts were sent within one day; the campaign “tie a green ribbon” (the ribbon will appear at the end of your weibo account name has over 650,000 participants in one da
  • Saving Kidnapped Children – A large scaled Weibo campaign was initiated to help parents to find their missing children. Netizens take snapshots of children they see begging on the street and of other children they think might have been kidnapped, then post the photos on the weibo with the hope their family members can recognize them. By 8th Feb 2011, more than 83,000 netizens had participated in the campaign, and there were 588,870 entries about the campaign on Weibo by evening
  • Business Promotion – A cake shop in Beijing managed to attract the customers 50% of them know the shop via Weibo.

Sina Weibo is leading Chinese social media

  • Total Weibo coverage in China
    • From March 2010 to June 2010, the overall coverge of Weibo increased from 54.5 millions to 103 millions
    • Sina Weibo coverage increased from 25.1 millions to 44.4 milllions

  • Total Monthly Page Views
    • From March 2010 to June 2010, the monthly page views of all Weibo increased from 153.6 millions to 417.4 millions
    • Sina Weibo monthly page views increased from 71.6 millions to 212 millions

What will boost Weibo in 2011 – 2012

  • Strong absolute growth on Chinese Internet users
  • Weibo building up its important in communications
  • Open Network Platform reinforcing the internet trend
  • Automatic account registration, shifting of accounts (sorry, I don’t get the meaning of this one)

Four Important Directions of Weibo

  • Weibo widget plug-in strengthens the connections between different websites
  • Users can share any contents to Weibo at any websites via the “share button”
  • Encourage diversified Apps development on Weibo API open platform
  • Collaborations with LBS and mobile service providers, enhancing Weibo on wireless mobile market

The Market Prediction

Meg believes the market is predicted to be mature in year 2013. There are 4 implications:

  • Unique Weibo users take up 30% of total users
  • The relative growth rate slow down yet the absolute growth rate remains high
  • More people would use Weibo as a marketing platform and measurable profits can be generated
  • Active collaborations between Weibo & other SNS and internet services

Weibo, the mass communication platform Beyond the Media

In the end, Meg emphasized that, Weibo is going to be not just New Media Broadcasting platform, it’s also a message/information exchange+sharing platform, e-commerce and business promotion platform and applications development + sharing platfrom.

Weibo for Foreigners?

Meg Lee said there are ~700k Weibo users from HongKong. But when I asked if Weibo has the plan to launch an English site, she said she did not think so.