Feeds

Chinese 'Twitter' breaks out of China

Sina Weibo to take on global customers (who want to toe the Party line)

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Popular Twitter clone Sina Weibo is planning to bust out of China before the end of the year, bringing additional features but maintaining state-mandated censorship.

Sina Weibo is currently limited to China, and the Chinese language, but as Reuters reports, the company is promising to provide an English-language service, available around the world, by the end of the year. That should create proper competition to Twitter's monopoly, as long as users don't mind the Chinese state restricting what they're allowed to talk about.

Sina Weibo has around 140 million users in China, compared to Twitter's global 170 million or so. But while Sina Weibo can poach Twitter's existing customers the reverse is prevented by the Chinese government block on uncensored services, which prevents Twitter from entering the country.

Sina's English-language service will be censored: updates containing inflammatory words or phrases will disappear into the aether as they do on the Chinese version, but that doesn't seem to bother the locals who replace known keywords with codes, or simply don't discuss such things in public.

So those locals provide Sina Weibo with a significant, and untouchable, base from which it now plans to attack international markets.

Micro-blogging, or Weibo as it's known locally, is huge in China – it's perfectly suited to the immediacy demanded by Chinese youth who aren't as bothered by state censorship as we mighty imagine them to be. Without Twitter, China has incubated three competing Weibo networks, driving innovation while Twitter has been content to rest on its laurels.

It's unlikely we'll see Sina Weibo organising a big US launch when its English service goes live in the autumn, but it will be interesting to see if twitterati elsewhere care as much about censorship as one might hope they do. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.