Facebook and Twitter back in China? You may feel this is a rather old topic and I admit it is. I have no interests of talking about why these international service can’t be in China, the censorship issue etc. Here is just a piece of my true feelings.
I have been travelling intensely this month and more than half of my time I spent outside China. I am reading and sending tweets on Twitter, posting photos and interacting with friends on Facebook, people I met at different events find me on LinkedIn or Facebook, and occasionally I use Path coz I love its photo filters. The only Chinese service I am using heavily is WeChat, because it costs me little to communicate with friends and colleagues in China and I enjoy sharing what I saw with them too. For a consumer, This is simple and convenient.
I am going back to China tomorrow, and what am I going to do when back there? RenRen, the successful clone of Facebook is still there but I don’t even remember my logins and apparently it is going down and now a gaming company rather than a social network; Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, I have been lazy with clicking that Refresh button for months. I am really bored with those rubbish and self-promoting comments from those so-called experts. What really pissed me off is that Sina wants Weibo to be Facebook which makes the products way more complicated. It really innovated in some ways when it started but now the only thing they desperately want to talk about is its revenue. Weibo used to be my news source, now it just sucks and we see it’s getting less active too; I’ve been to lots of conference in China, how to reconnect with people I met at these events is always my headache, there is just no a single place, like LinkedIn in which I could possibly find all of them online. This is frustrating.
It is really a bad Internet culture in China that when one service grows huge the operator will start believing it could be the god of everything. When they start doing this, it actually starts ruining everything which is bad, at least for the users.
Therefore I bring back this old topic: We need Facebook, Twitter etc back in China, or may we just do some new Clones of them. Not easy, but the market has re-emerged. Think!