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Sina Weibo Removes ‘Beta’ Label, Now Makes Twitter Look Like a Baby

Look, Ma, no beta!

Sina Weibo, China’s hottest Twitter-like service, has today removed the beta label from its site. The move comes one day after Weibo’s third anniversary, and ahead of a good-looking revamp of the site, dubbed Weibo v5, that’ll see it add circles (like G+) and timeline covers (like Facebook).

We’ve reached out to Sina and will update if we get back an explanation.

A bit like Gmail retaining its beta label for years, well past its maturing as a popular service, Sina Weibo has long since outgrown its kindergarten days. The Sina-run (NASDAQ:SINA) service has zoomed past 300+ million registered users, added social gaming and a virtual currency, and so many other features that it makes it seem like Twitter’s founders have been in comas for the past three years [1].

It’s only in terms of monetization that Sina Weibo is still making precarious baby steps. It’s proving costly to run and a huge burden to maintain real-time self-censorship at the behest of micro-censorious authorities. We suspect that the beta peel off is a preparation step towards its upcoming new design and also monetization methods.

  1. Twitter, can we have embedded images that actually work, and half-way decent Android apps too? Seriously.  ↩

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