Editor’s Note: The piece originally appears on LinkedIn, we reproduced it here under Kaifu Lee’s authorization. Kaifu is the founder of Chinese incubator Innovation Works , he also served as Google and Microsoft VP.

Over the past three years, “weibo” has taken China by storm.  “Weibo” literally means “micro-blog”, and some have called weibo “the Chinese Twitter”.  But more accurately, weibo is a 500-character Twitter with Facebook look-and-feel, in a country with very few high-quality traditional media.  Weibo is offered by several companies, with Sina having a leadership position.

More specifically, the 500-character comes from the fact that 140 characters in Chinese is as expressive as 500 characters in English.  Compared to Twitter, weibo has a structured (e.g., nested dialogs) + media-rich (easy to enjoy photo/video/music without leaving the page) approach, which made it more approachable for the many amateur netizens in China.  Finally, in a country where traditional media lacks of brand and expressiveness, weibo is particularly welcome as a breath of fresh air.

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