We’ve received news that Sina Weibo has officially expanded to both Singapore and Indonesia, appointing a new company called Trends Media to focus its expansion efforts. According to Trends Media sales and marketing director Jimmy Li, for Singapore, it aims to get more companies to sign up ‘blue V enterprise-verified’ Weibo accounts, connect with more fans, and set up a social store.
Sina Weibo’s blue V enterprise-verified accounts are a bit like Facebook brand pages, and will allow merchants in Singapore and Indonesia to tap into a new pool of Chinese-speaking and overseas Chinese users for Sina Weibo, something which other social media platforms have previously neglected. We’re told Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) hopes to serve as a platform for brands to expand into the China market. With the these accounts set up, Sina aims to increase the number of Weibo followers and user community engagement. And hopefully with all these in place, users can also make cashless transactions with the company’s Weibo Wallet.
Building up location-based data
To give you guys a clearer picture, Sina Weibo recently launched a new campaign, for Chinese speakers around the world, called ‘Bringing Weibo on your travels’ as part of its efforts to connect with more merchants and fans to achieve the afore-mentioned three objectives.
When a Sina Weibo user goes travelling, he or she is encouraged to upload pictures, information, and geotag the location. With all this Foursquare-like data, it seems Sina Weibo will approach merchants in Singapore and Indonesia and get them to claim their enterprise verified account.
For brands and merchants, there’s an abundance of data and statistics that can be collected about customers who are Weibo user such as the gender, age, number of followers, location, type of user (whether he or she has a verified Weibo account or is an ambassador), shortlink analytics, and the type of device used.
With this information, we’re told, brands can effectively target Weibo users and set up advertising campaigns specific to the parameters set. Using its Weibo brand page, a company can connect with its fans by rolling out promotions. So if I’m running a restaurant and would like to run campaigns to increase patronage for my store, Weibo also allows users to make purchases using its Weibo Wallet (a service only available in China similar to Alipay or PayPal).
18 days into the Sina Weibo campaign, there are already 110 million posts for the campaign itself. Jimmy also tells us that there are also giveaways that will incentivize users to upload information onto the platform. Imagine the amount of information at the end of the campaign on October 7.
Will it work for countries like Singapore, where people use Facebook?
According to Jimmy, Singapore ranks fourth in terms of the number of registered Sina Weibo users, with 1.5 million registered users and 800,000 daily active users. But really most of us here in Singapore use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However Jimmy says Sina Weibo is not competing with platforms like Facebook.
In fact, he says that both can mutually exist with no conflict of interests. Sina aims to compete in the Chinese-speaking market, capturing at least one-third of the population in Singapore. It projects to hit two million registered users with 1.5 million daily active Weibo users. It will reach out to users via merchants and engage local Chinese-speaking celebrities to promote its platform.
It will also be actively promoting its new messaging platform WeMeet – a late-comer messaging app similar to WeChat or Whatsapp – focusing on its localization efforts here in Singapore. Sina also has plans to expand into Indonesia this upcoming December.
(Editing by Steven Millward)