China's biggest microblog tops 200 million users

Aug 18, 2011
Chinese websurfers are seen at an Internet cafe in central China's Anhui province. A popular social networking service used by Chinese people to vent their anger over a deadly July train crash now has more than 200 million users.

A popular social networking service used by Chinese people to vent their anger over a deadly July train crash now has more than 200 million users, owner Sina.com said Thursday.

Users of Sina Weibo -- China's answer to Twitter -- sent millions of messages criticising the official response to the disaster, which killed 40 and forced the government to halt the expansion of its high-speed rail programme.

It was credited for prodding China's state-run media into an unusually critical response to the disaster, accusing authorities of ignoring safety concerns in their rush to develop the world's biggest high-speed network.

"Launched less than two years ago, Weibo.com has become an online phenomenon with registered accounts recently surpassing 200 million," Sina.com chief executive Charles Chao said in the company's second-quarter earnings statement.

China -- which has the world's largest online population with 485 million users -- constantly strives to exert its control over the Internet, blocking content it deems politically sensitive as part of a vast system.

But the rise of China's weibos -- microblogs similar to , which is banned by the communist authorities -- has exposed the difficulty of controlling access to information.

A microblogger living near the accident site in the eastern city of Wenzhou is widely believed to have broken the news of the crash, while millions of others kept up a steady barrage of criticism in the days that followed.

The scale of the response appeared to take authorities by surprise. Shortly after the accident, the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of China's Communist Party, urged officials to use the weibos more to communicate with the public.

Sina Weibo is by far the biggest of the country's .

It is China's third most popular website overall after search engine and QQ.com, an instant messaging service, according to the of China.

Sina.com's net income in the second quarter fell to $10 million from $25.2 million in the same period a year earlier. But sales in the period rose 20 percent to $119 million.

Explore further: Lions Gate partners with online outfit RocketJump

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook CEO meets with Sina during China holiday

Dec 22, 2010

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg -- on holiday in China where his social networking site is officially blocked -- met Wednesday with top executives from the country's popular web portal Sina.com.

Radiohead ventures into Chinese social media

Jul 03, 2011

(AP) -- Radiohead has taken a tentative step into censored Chinese cyberspace, even though the British rock band has been critical of China's human rights record.

China's Sina drops Google search service

Mar 29, 2011

China's largest Internet portal Sina said Tuesday it has replaced Google's search service on its websites with its own technology, further denting the US giant's presence in the Asian nation.

Dozens of outspoken, popular blogs shut in China

Jul 15, 2010

(AP) -- Dozens of blogs by some of China's most outspoken users have been abruptly shut down while popular Twitter-like services appear to be the newest target in government efforts to control social networking.

Recommended for you

Instagram photo-sharing service goes down

Apr 12, 2014

Popular photo-sharing site Instagram was not working Saturday, as frustrated users quickly turned to social network Twitter and other web sites to share their complaints.

Authors Guild asks US court to rule against Google

Apr 11, 2014

The Authors Guild says that Google Inc. is stealing business from retailers and has asked a New York federal appeals court to find that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitization project.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...