Twitter ban boosts Chinese sites during aquatics worlds

July 20, 2011
World aquatics championships athletes faced with China's bans on Twitter and Facebook are opening accounts with local equivalents, boosting their profile in the country. British diving star Tom Daley (pictured) is leading the trend after he began posting updates and pictures on Tencent, one of the leaders in China's fast-growing microblogging sector.

World aquatics championships athletes faced with China's bans on Twitter and Facebook are opening accounts with local equivalents, boosting their profile in the country.

British diving star Tom Daley is leading the trend after he began posting updates and pictures on Tencent, one of the leaders in China's fast-growing microblogging sector.

Tencent staff member Norman Li said Daley, 17, attracted 10,000 followers in one day after he opened the account earlier this year. He now has around 343,000 followers -- more than triple the number he has on .

"He's obviously very smart -- he found out how to use it and introduced the weibo (microblog) to Jack Laugher," Li said, referring to Daley's diving team-mate and close friend.

America's David Boudia and Mexican diver Yahel Castillo are also on Tencent, which is now chasing Australian Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham, Japanese swimmer Kosuke Kitajima and Germany's Paul Biedermann.

"If they want to promote themselves here in China, obviously it's the best way," said Li.

Chinese microblogs provide a possible solution to athletes who have adopted Twitter as an invaluable public relations tool. China has blocked Twitter along with since blaming it for fanning ethnic unrest in 2009.

"Flying to shanghai today, not too sure how much is going to be blocked on the Internet. But will try to get a tweet in, somehow!" Australian swimmer Eamon Sullivan tweeted on Monday.

Other keen tweeters include Australia's Stephanie Rice, Americans Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin and 14-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps, who posted enthusiastically during Sunday's women's World Cup football final.

China now has nearly half-a-billion Internet users, with actress Yao Chen -- an unknown in the West -- attracting five million , outstripping even US chatshow queen .

Explore further: Twitter a global sensation: Hitwise

Related Stories

Twitter a global sensation: Hitwise

April 25, 2009

With celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey helping fuel Twitter mania, the micro-blogging website is soaring to stardom around the world, according to Hitwise.

Twitter bug zaps followers (Update)

May 10, 2010

Twitter was bitten by a bug on Monday that caused users of the fast-growing micro-blogging service to temporarily lose the list of followers of their accounts.

Facebook's CEO visits China's top search engine

December 20, 2010

(AP) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg toured the offices of China's top search engine Monday during a visit that has sparked speculation the social networking magnate is looking for business opportunities in the world's largest ...

Chinese fugitive briefly a web sensation

January 27, 2011

A microblog purportedly set up by a longtime Chinese fugitive attracted more than 10,000 followers within hours before it was shut down, state media reported Thursday.

Recommended for you

Facebook ready to test giant drone for Internet service

July 30, 2015

Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the next stage of its campaign to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.