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What鈥檚 Up Weibo!










Unless you have been living in a cave, or live so far up Mt Everest that you can’t light a cigarette , then you should have heard of Weibo 寰崥 (lit. micro-blog). 


However, for a large part of the foreign community Weibo remains inaccessible, even more so than the aforementioned mountain. Why is this? What are you missing out on and how many different types of Weibo are there?


For many the biggest hurdle for accessing Weibo is the language barrier. The raw version of Sina Weibo 鏂版氮寰崥 (the largest micro-blog site in China) is all in Chinese. There are various rumours swirling around the internet of an English version of Weibo, but right now there isn’t one. On top if this, Weibo requires your passport information, which for some is a little too much to give. 


If you are willing or able to overlook the language issues then you will find a whole world bursting with information, one that provides a completely different side to China that most foreigners won’t see. You can catch up on the latest movie stars, watch the latest rending topics like environmental change or go into meltdown, or use it as a platform to launch your business to get access to a market of over 500 million users, and connect with over 130,565 businesses. It is also a lot of fun to use, easy to personalise and easy to waste a lot of time on the different games and apps. 


The largest Weibos are Sina and Sohu 鎼滅嫄, but Netease and Baidu also offer Weibo-style services. The differences are only cosmetic, although Sina Weibo has much higher user registrations standards.


You should always bear in mind when reading Weibo that it does not represent the whole of China. When news outlets list sample quotes from Weibo users, or look at what it is streaming on Weibo, they are not representative of China as a whole. Sina Weibo has a daily usage of around 10 percent of its user base, so rather than being a must-use app, it is more like a must-have symbol for many modern Chinese.



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