I recently wrote a blog post to Transfluent’s blog about SINA Weibo. I’m doing a partial repost here as well, as this certainly is a topic of great interest these days. For the full blog post, see Fancy being big in China? Weibo is the key in Transfluent’s blog.

For those who don’t yet know, Weibo is a Chinese word that means ‘microblog’. While it has only been around for about three years, Weibo has exploded in popularity to become the only social network to be seen on in China. If you want to be popular in China, you absolutely must be on Weibo.

Since most of you probably have no idea what Weibo is, other than “the Twitter of the east”, I decided to write this short introduction to SINA Weibo, strategies on how to get started and listing of who are the top Chinese and western stars currently on top.

SINA Weibo

The biggest and most important microblog is SINA Weibo, with over 400 million registered users. This, along with active usage profile, makes SINA Weibo one of the most important social networks in the world; perhaps second only to Facebook. Yet despite its immense popularity, SINA Weibo remains a mystery to most non-Chinese users. Most profile pages are only visible to registered users, and the Chinese user interface makes it nearly impossible to even sign up for an account if you don’t know the language.

Recognizing this, Transfluent has just launched an integration of our translation service in Weibo. Using Transfluent you are able to write posts in English, and have them posted to Weibo in Chinese using our large network of professional translators. You can read back and reply to comments using English, giving you a chance to engage directly with the Weibo community.

We are also seeing signs that SINA is taking interesting steps to open up globally. Just a few days ago, SINA announced it would be launching an English-language user interface, to accommodate international users. This is great news, and will make it possible to use Weibo even if you don’t read Chinese. However, currently nearly 100% of the Weibo posts are in Chinese, and most Weibo users don’t speak any English, so don’t expect to be able to get much out of it right away.