Starting tomorrow, Beijing-based Weibo users will need to register to the site with their real identities to be able to post online. Other metropolises like Shanghai and Guangzhou are expected to adopt similar rules.
The new rules would allow Sina to eliminate spam accounts and provide the company with user information that would be key to potential advertisers.
“It’s not going to have a major impact on user engagement because there’s nothing else that does what this platform does in real time,” Shanghai-based marketing consultant T.R. Harrington said. “From an advertising targeting perspective Weibo has the potential to become much more valuable.” Of course, the real-identity rules will make it easier for China to keep tabs on what its citizens are saying on the platform.
Nicknamed the Twitter of China, Weibo is valued up to $4.5 billion by analysts, providing crucial advertising potential for Sina, which was the fourth-largest advertising platform in China after Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Google China (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Taobao.
To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Lee at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org