April 11, 2013 00:00 By ASINA PORNWASIN THE NATION
China's largest micro-blogging platform, Weibo, has announced an expansion of its business in Thailand through its local partner, Jiaranai Entertainment.
The launch of Weibo Thailand is aimed at forming a bridge between Thai and Chinese business via the largest social network in China.
It positions Weibo as the gateway to the Chinese business market under the concept of “Amazing Wei Thai-land: An Easy Way to Open the Chinese Market”.
Weibo Thailand, which plans to spend Bt10 million on marketing, aims to break even within six months and generate between Bt20 million and Bt30 million in revenue during its first 12 months of operations. It also expects to grow at an annual rate of 15-20 per cent for the next couple of years.
Rui Guo, managing director of Jiaranai Entertainment, said the priority focus of Weibo Thailand was to encourage the Thai tourism industry to connect to potential Chinese tourists. This year, some 3.8 million Chinese tourists are expected to visit Thailand.
“Sixty per cent of Chinese visiting Thailand are not first-time tourists. Thailand’s tourism industry is the priority for us to focus on. The next focus industry is exports,” she said.
“By the end of the first year of operations, Weibo Thailand aims to have 1.6 million active accounts in Thailand. That is double the current number of active Weibo users in the country, who are mostly Chinese,” Guo said.
A distinguishing feature of Weibo.com is verification to guarantee accounts on Weibo.com and increase confidence for users using the platform as the business channel to connect to the Chinese market, she said.
It is a combination of Twitter and Facebook and offers better features and mobile engagement, she added.
Weibo.com is the largest social-networking site, with a user base of 30 per cent of all Internet users worldwide.
The user base is largely made up of graduate professionals, and the average age of users is 25.
“We do not want Thais to leave Facebook and Twitter to be on Weibo. But we would like to encourage them to benefit from Weibo as the gateway to the Chinese market,” she said.