The microblog war in China is over. A wave of startups has long since died. The Weibo (“microblog” in Chinese) platform run by Sina, the leading online news portal, has beaten all the others built by the big Chinese internet companies. Tencent’s Weibo division was eliminated several months ago. Tencent hasn’t shut the site down but there’s no dedicated staff for it. Netease Weibo is asking users to move all their micro-posts to its blog site Lofter. Charles Zhang, CEO of Sohu, acknowledged the failure of Sohu Weibo in mid-2012. Baidu Shuoba, which differed from others in requiring identity verification (as with Facebook but Baidu wanted it to have Weibo functionality), didn’t get any traction and was closed in August 2011.

Aggregation platforms and third-party application developers that emerged for the microblog gold rush have become useless.

Fanfou, launched a little more than one year after Twitter launch, was one of the earliest Chinese copycats. It was quite popular among news-hungry Chinese netizens and reached one million users in less than two years. But before long Fanfou, thanks to the user demographic, would find itself busy deleting or filtering posts that Chinese authorities found offensive. What the small Fanfou team could manage wasn’t insufficient for the authorities, and the site was shut down in mid-2009. Fanfou wasn’t alone: several other similar services were closed at the same time.

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Tracey Xiang

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