Social Computing Lab of HP Labs recently published a paper titled What Trends in Chinese Social Media. In this 10-pages paper, the authors examined the key topics that trend on Sina Weibo and contrast them with their observations on Twitter. This is probably one of the most valuable research (in English) on the comparison of Weibo and Twitter I’ve ever read.
The paper concludes that:
There are vast differences between the content that is shared on Sina Weibo when compared to Twitter. In China, people tend to use Sina Weibo to share jokes, images and videos and a significantly large percentage of posts are retweets. The trends that are formed are almost entirely due to the repeated retweets of such media content.
This is contrary to what we observe on Twitter, where the trending topics have more to do with current events (in other words, on Twitter that trending topics are mainly caused by sources of other media) and the effect of retweets is not as large. Also, there are more unverified accounts among the top 100 trend-setters on Sina Weibo than on Twitter and most of the unverified accounts feature discussion forums for user-contributed jokes, images and videos.
So Weibo, will become the key media source in China?! Below is the full paper:chinesecultureinstitute.com]