Although Sina Weibo is spreading rapidly in China, investors are concerned about its ability to generate revenue. To address such an issue, Sina Weibo is to launch its own virtual currency. We already reported that the information about its virtual currency named Weibi had been leaked in its wiki page for developers. An industry insider has just pinged us saying Weibi will be soft launched next Monday (18th July).

In just 9 months, Sina Weibo users have increased almost 3 times, from 50 million last October to 140 million recently.  It becomes a popular social network in China for people to follow celebrities and news.   Many white collar users also use it to connect with their personal friends.

But industry experts criticize it lacks a working business model.  The introduction of Weibo virtual currency should help to address such problem.

To encourage the use of its virtual currency, Sina Weibo will not take anything from application developers for the first year.  But in the future, applications accepting such currency will have to pay Sina a certain percentage when they redeem it to Reminbi, said the insider.

The first batch of applications using Sina Weibo’s  virtual currency include about 10 applications.  Most of them are online games but there will also be an e-Commerce application, said the insider.