Many social networks have been banned in China since 2011. However, this does not prevent Chinese citizens from using these networks for their professional and personal needs. They simply developed their own alternatives. It is for this reason that we often find ourselves in top networks that do not necessarily talk to us. Let’s look at what one of the most famous looks like: Weibo.
What is Sina Weibo?
Son Weibo, aren’t you being told? However, it is the 10th most used social network in the world in 2021. in front of Snapchat, Twitter or Pinterest for example. This platform was created in 2009 by Sina Corporation, a very large Chinese media company. In fact, “weibo” means “microblog” in Chinese, hence the fact that we find other networks like this one bearing this name (Tencent weibo for example).
Shortly after its creation, Sina Weibo quickly established itself as the most popular weibo, with 50 million users and more than 2 billion messages posted after just over a year of existence, 2010. Today we count over 500 million active users per month on Sina Weibo, it’s huge!
This medium is not limited to China. It counts active users in 190 countries. We assume that these are people of Chinese descent, who want to keep up to date with what is happening in the country. Yet, if we stick to the numbers and facts, Sina Weibo is used more and is more present than Twitter in the world.
How does Weibo work?
Weibo, does it look more like Facebook or Twitter?
In reality, Sina Weibo is mostly the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Indeed, the network phenomenon in China makes it possible to publish on the wire messages up to 140 charactersa bit like what can be found on its American counterpart.
There are even additional features compared to Twitter! You will be able to create real conversation threads with forwarding or commenting functions. A bit like Twitter, Weibo is also a very rich source of information in China. We find a kind of “top tweet” with a summary of important news of the day. The network is less controlled than certain media such as newspapers or television. We can see the emergence of real social problems that cannot be solved offline.
We notice that Sina Weibo users are quite young, 3 quarters are under 30 years old. This well supports what we just said. Young people may be more vigilant about the social issues and problems posed by the current Chinese model. Son Weibo is a way for them to express themselves more freely. Users are also very active online and communicate a lot. Other data that confirm our observation, users usually come from big citiesin which the level of education is higher and the mentality is “more open”.
Marketing on Sina Weibo?
You can absolutely do marketing on Weibo! Many brands advertise on Weibo. In fact, brands seem to be more popular in engagement than on our traditional networks. The users are young and engaged, and the network has a big impact on people. Sina Weibo can therefore become a good gateway for your brand in China.
As a brand, you can easily create a page and customize it to suit you. Ideally, you should be certified to have sufficient credibility with your audience. It is quite possible, but you have to submit official documents to the network teams so that they can confirm you.
There are various ways you can go to promote your brand on Weibou. Of course you can create content alone, provided it is relevant to your readers. In any case, you will have to make sure that you are very regular and that you renew yourself often. In effect, like Twitter, it is a very instant oriented network. Therefore, you will only be able to create hot content, which is what the Chinese prefer anyway. Under the posts you will be able to communicate directly with the people who make up your community, as after all on Twitter.
In addition to all this, various other levers of advertising have developed on Weibou. Of course, there is already influencer marketing. The collaboration with influencers or opinion leaders Chinese is entirely possible. Some European brands are already doing that. Product placement among influencers is much more rooted in their culture than in ours. Then you will also have access paid advertising campaigns online nothing original.
Of course, if you are a brand, you need to think carefully before heading to Sina Weibo or any Chinese social network. Despite the relative “freedom of expression” for media users, censorship is still quite present.
For example, from 2018, we can find a list of terms and expressions censored by the Communist Party of China. Among the funniest we find especially “Winnie the Pooh”, which is censored for mocking Xi Jinping and his resemblance to a cartoon character. Many words are blocked, but also cultural references important such as “La Ferme des Animaux” or “1984”. In fact, anything that calls into question or makes judgment about the current Chinese model is simply censored.
For your information, Weibo himself was fined half a million by the Chinese state for “spreading illegal information” during the Peng Shuai affair. In time, that certain freedom of speech and expression disappeared on social media, especially since the arrival of Xi Jinping. In fact, Weibo sometimes even ended up as a thorn in the side of state propaganda. In 2011, at a time when we could still speak quite freely online, Weibo made it especially possible to highlight a serious train accident that caused 40 deaths. The mainstream media was not allowed to talk about it. This is just one example, unfortunately among many others.
Can we access Weibo in French or English?
If you wanted to take a walk on Weibo and use the various information available on the site, you can only do so in English or Chinese. In any case, the content of the site is in this language, there is no or very little content in French. Therefore, it is logical that their interface is only available in Chinese or English.
How to use Weibo?
If the language barrier is not an obstacle for you, then it will be quite easy to register on the Chinese internet discussion platform.
All you have to do is go to the registration page when you get to their site.
All you have to do is fill in the required information, and then confirm using the activation code that you will receive via SMS.
Then you will receive an activation email to which you will have to click on the link, nothing very complicated.
Here, you are registered, all you need to do is fill in the information on your profile and communicate on the platform.
How does business registration work?
As part of creating a business account, some processing and a slightly longer procedure will be required. If you are a foreign company in China and do not have a Chinese license, it can be quite complicated. You will need some complicated documents, count from 10 to 21 days of processing, which will cost you between 700 and 1400 €.
If you have a commercial license in China, you will greatly simplify things. Processing is faster (5 days), cheaper (between 40 and 1400 € depending on what you choose) and the documents that are submitted are simpler: work permit, authentication request and certificate of registration of the Mark.
If your trademark is registered in China, the processes are also quite simple. All you need to do is submit a certificate of representation and a business license from your dealer / distributor. processing time is about 7 days and costs about 40 €.