Sina Weibo is freakin’ huge. I think we’ve mentioned that before. But they’re not just big in mainland China, you know. According to a press release from Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) today, its Weibo service now has more than two million users in Hong Kong.
That’s pretty impressive given that (a) Hong Kong users have access to Western social media competitors like Twitter and Facebook and (b) the total population of Hong Kong is just above seven million. That means out of every four Hong Kongers you meet, at least one or two have a Weibo account. Also, did we mention that’s growth of over a million users since this past March? Daaaaaamn!
Now, before you get too excited, Sina’s presser says that the service has “over 600 thousand monthly unique visitors.” We checked, and that number includes those accessing from mobile apps, which means that of the two million Hong Kong users it sounds like only about one-quarter are particularly active on the service.
Still, the growth is pretty impressive! How did Sina pull it off? To hear them tell it, they did it by engaging with the local community in the local langage (which is Cantonese, not the Mandarin that is spoken in much of mainland China):
The milestone in Hong Kong comes shortly after SINA HK launched its first ever Hong Kong outdoor advertising campaign in which the brand used the word ‘Wei’ in local tone to start conversations with Hong Kong people and increased people’s association with ‘Weibo.com’.
If you’re wondering what that looks like, apparently you need look no further than the bus at the top of this post, which features one of the ads. “Wei” means “micro” (as in, microblog) in Mandarin but it’s a common way to say Hi in Cantonese, so the advertisements were a local pun of sorts.