Steven Millward
Steven Millward
8:00 pm on Nov 16, 2012

Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) has just released an interesting report filled with facts and stats about users of its Sina Weibo service, which passed 400 million registered users earlier today. Combing through the report, we see it has lots of Weibo user demographic facts that would be super useful for brands and marketers, so we’ve picked eight of the best for this list.

1. Gender and Age

Weibo users are split evenly along gender lines, with 180 million each. That doesn’t add up to Sina’s newest 400 million figure, so it seems the data was compiled a few months ago. Anyway, users are mostly people born after 1980, making it a very young user-base. The biggest group is those born between 1980 and 1989 – who are China’s first boomers and netizens. Those born in 1990 or thereafter are the ones to watch, and the group that might require a change of marketing strategy:

2. Education Levels

As well as being quite young, Weibo users are also skewed towards those we are well-educated, with the majority having a university degree or higher. Indeed, 30 percent of current Weibo users are current university students, making them the biggest single professional user-group. The next largest subset is white-collar workers, representing 19.6 percent:

3. Monthly Income and Spending Levels

The chart on the left relates to monthly disposable income among Weibo users, while the blue chart relates to income. Clearly, the bulk of users say that they spend 1,000 RMB to 2,999 RMB ($159 to $478) per month. Tallied with the afore-mentioned preponderance of white-collar and mid-level office workers (in #2) on the social site, there’s a fairly sizable chunk of income set aside for spending each month:

4. Spending Power

All of Sina Weibo’s users have an annual theoretical spending power of RMB 16 trillion ($2.55 trillion), which equates to the GDP of Italy. OK, so Chinese tend to be conservative with spending – prefering to save for college funds and to counterbalance a lack of a social safety net – so this one is not so meaningful for brands. Instead it’d be better to look at education and income levels (see #2 and #3) and carefully cross-reference that with regional distribution (see #5). Nonetheless, this is a fun factoid:

5. Where are Weibo Users?

Weibo users are – as the above stats give a clue – scattered across China’s richer coastal areas and hi-tech manufacturing hubs. On the heat map, Guangdong stands out in red, with the most Weibo users of all, then Jiangsu province and Beijing municipality. All three provinces have a similar weight of middle-class and wealthy inhabitants, and its interesting that they share a strong Weibo user-base as well:

6. PCs, TVs, Mobile

Basically, this is what media Weibo users are interested in, compared with folks on Facebook or Twitter. Note the greater love for mobile usage in China:

7. Weibo Usage on PCs, Mobile

For now, Weibo users spend more time accessing the service on their PCs – an average of 5.8 hours per day for a user. On a mobile, that’s down to 3.9 hours. Both stats, Sina claims, are higher than for either Facebook or Twitter:

8. Ad Blockers?

Lastly, how receptive are Weibo users to adverts? Sina claims that the majority find ads “quite useful” – a greater number than those who dislike ads:

Check the the full report for further details (and to see specifics of its methodology), though note that it’s all in Chinese. Get it from Sina Weibo’s official reports page (login required), or we’ve put it up here for your convenience.

  • Sammie

    Good breakdown, steven. Any idea if weibo sina has a marketing platform or solution for advertisers?

    • Steven Millward

      yep, lots. this seems to be its official ad department account:

  • Dean

    Don’t think so. though sina is definitely working on it. it has to make money somehow

  • Belinda Ang

    Sina Weibo has been working with many brands very closely for a long time now. Instead of direct advertising, they work more on brand collaborations to encourage engagements with users. China’s social behaviors are driven strongly by entertainment and pop culture. So most brand collaborations also revolves around entertainment. These can online events, gaming, stories or media associated.

  • Selina

    Thanks for the add on info steven, belinda.

    Belinda, do u mind sharing which brands they work with and how exactly they collaborate? thanks in advancement

  • Olivier en Chine


    Very interesting fact except the point 6 … how can they compare twitter and facebook to weibo, most of them do not know?

    What s mean the TV ? they like watch TV ? Sorry I do not get it.

    but except this the report is very good, I will translate and quote you quite soon.


  • SeekTruthFromFacts

    The regional figures are absolute numbers. Convert them into per capita figures, and the heat map might look very different. 15-30m users in Beijing, compared to a population of 20m…? Essentially everyone in the city! Why the relative lack of love in Shanghai (which has a bigger population) – WeChat taking off??? Why isn’t Shenzhen broken out of Guangdong? You could also have everyone in Tibet on Weibo and it would still be in blue….

    Not blaming Techinasia, as you clearly say the data comes from Weibo.

  • Shirley

    Hi all,

    Thanks for sharing. It is surly a piece of useful information . BTW, i am looking for some agency to help me execute my marketing plan @ weibo. Any recommendations ? Tks! You can contact me via email for further details!

  • Lydia

    Hi, This is a response to Sammie’s question. Sina Weibo does have a marketing platform and solutions for advertisers. If you would like more information you should contact the company adSage. AdSage specializes in the customization of Sina Weibo pages for different companies and advertisers. Website: Hope this was helpful.

  • Elizabeth

    Are there any statistics on how many Chinese Americans use Weibo?

  • ElodieMariette

    Do you have any experience in Weibo Ads? Do you have sucessful conversions? If you guys have some interesting case studies, i might be interested to see them. Thks 😉

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