Weibo’s English Ambition Is To Plug Western Companies In To China

The world’s largest microblog service does not want to take on Twitter on its home turf. But it does want to further limit Twitter’s chance of success in the Far East.

We have recently been reporting Sina’s Weibo of China, which has surpassed Twitter with more than 200 million users, will launch an English-language version soon.

But now the company tells Technode: “It’s not about accessing the overseas market, it’s about (helping) the overseas companies to access the Chinese users.”

Weibo reports “good demand of overseas services which want to connect to Sina (NSDQ: SINA) Weibo’s service to entertain Chinese users“. Flipboard and Instagram will be adding share-to-Weibo integration while Flipboard will also be launching a Chinese version, the company tells TechNode.

So Twitter can rest easy that Weibo does not want to launch a competitive English-language service targeted at western consumers, which always seemed an unlikely proposition given the relative continental disparity and cultural differences in the respective services.

Weibo’s potential value to western businesses who want to break in to the fast-growing Chinese economy was illustrated when George W. Bush’s younger brother Neil recently started microblogging about his business interests on Weibo in Chinese.

Twitter is currently selling Promoted Tweets ads to western companies in the west and might have been able to take this opportunity to Asia; but Twitter is a relative unknown there with a relatively miniscule user base.

Any threat to market-leading Weibo on the business microblog marketing front comes from second-placed Tencent, whose own microblog service already opened up in English in September.

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