HootSuite and its owl have flown into China, adding support for the country’s hottest Twitter-like service, Sina Weibo, in its social media dashboard. This could be of great use to many brands who need to use Sina’s (NASDAQ:SINA) wildly popular Weibo for doing social marketing to Chinese consumers, as Sina Weibo still only has Chinese-language support on its site.
Along with the Sina Weibo rollout, HootSuite now also has support for traditional Chinese, as used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and among many overseas Chinese. Hootsuite has been blocked in China for some time (it was a useful workaround for using Twitter, which got blocked way earlier, until Net Nanny slapped it down), but it doesn’t really matter as local Weibo users and Chinese companies are not the target of this. The Weibo support is instead aimed at HootSuite’s paying customers, especially for its enterprise packages, which include major brands like Seagate and Pepsi.
HootSuite announced this on its blog yesterday, as spotted by TheNextWeb, and describe it as a mere “first step” into the Chinese market – next up is a simplified Chinese localization of the site (which is currently being crowdsourced). There’s now also a HootSuite Chinese presence on both Twitter and Weibo (see here and here) so that clients and users can better interact with the HootSuite team.
The Weibo integration extends to all the usual HootSuite features, such as posting text and images, Weibo searches, and analytics so that brands can better monitor how their posts are going down with Chinese consumers. We’ve seen something similar come already from an Australian startup with its Hubblr site, which additionally supports China’s facebook-esque Renren site.
Canada-based HootSuite has been busy in the region recently, adding a version for Indonesian a couple of months ago.