China's biggest microblog tops 200 million users
Friday 19 August 2011
A popular social networking service used by Chinese people to vent their anger over a deadly July train crash now has more than 200 million users, owner Sina.com said Thursday.
Users of Sina Weibo - China's answer to Twitter - sent millions of messages criticising the official response to the disaster, which killed 40 and forced the government to halt the expansion of its high-speed rail programme.
It was credited for prodding China's state-run media into an unusually critical response to the disaster, accusing authorities of ignoring safety concerns in their rush to develop the world's biggest high-speed network.
"Launched less than two years ago, Weibo.com has become an online phenomenon with registered accounts recently surpassing 200 million," Sina.com chief executive Charles Chao said in the company's second-quarter earnings statement.
China - which has the world's largest online population with 485 million users - constantly strives to exert its control over the Internet, blocking content it deems politically sensitive as part of a vast censorship system.
But the rise of China's weibos - microblogs similar to Twitter, which is banned by the communist authorities - has exposed the difficulty of controlling access to information.
A microblogger living near the accident site in the eastern city of Wenzhou is widely believed to have broken the news of the crash, while millions of others kept up a steady barrage of criticism in the days that followed.
The scale of the response appeared to take authorities by surprise. Shortly after the accident, the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of China's Communist Party, urged officials to use the weibos more to communicate with the public.
Sina Weibo is by far the biggest of the country's social networking sites.
It is China's third most popular website overall after search engine Baidu and QQ.com, an instant messaging service, according to the Internet Society of China.
Sina.com's net income in the second quarter fell to $10 million from $25.2 million in the same period a year earlier. But sales in the period rose 20 percent to $119 million.
Life & Style blogs
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...
£21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: This is a large multi-site operation...
£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...