The general manager of Sina’s business strategy, Ai Yong, and spokesperson, Liu Qi, talked about Weibo monetization in an interview lately. It sounds like Sina wants to convince us that, unlike what we thought about, the Weibo advertising business doesn’t cannibalize that on its portal, and that Sina is technologically capable of building workable advertising platforms.

Sina management once acknowledged that Weibo ads had been bundled with portal ads in contracts between brands and Sina portal before Weibo started selling display ads separately. It was perceived that brands wanted to dump portal adverts which weren’t that effective and shifted to Weibo. Sina executives, however, said in the interview that brand advertisers didn’t fancy the Weibo platform and small businesses would be their major Weibo advertising customers.

Never being a tech-driven company, Sina wasn’t considered as having made a good product or figured out good monetization approaches by mining user data or building powerful advertising platforms. Mr. Ai kind of acknowledged that Sina wasn’t strong on technology but they were not worried about it in terms of monetization, saying “there may be gaps in user-facing products in terms of technology, but I think most companies are at the same starting line in technology when it comes to monetization.”

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com