19 Essential Weibo Statistics: What Is It and Why You Should Know About It

Updated · Jun 03, 2022

China’s digital landscape has been growing at a tremendous pace. To give you an idea of its influence and speed, today, we shall discuss the latest Weibo statistics.

Why Weibo, and what exactly is that? The so-called “Chinese Twitter” is part of the gigantic holy trinity of the Chinese internet (together with Baidu and WeChat). By taking an in-depth look at one of its most prominent online social platforms, we’ll gain a better understanding of the Chinese online environment, behavior, and habits.

So what is the meaning behind Weibo? This “microblog” offers a platform where people can share their opinions on various topics (though there are some restrictions we’ll cover later in this article), post short messages, images, and videos, and repost everything important. It has become a key source of information for hundreds of millions of Chinese people.

Last thing before we start: our collection of amusing facts covers only Sina Weibo. Platforms of similar nature, structure, or sometimes even names, such as Tencent Weibo, which shut down in 2020, won’t be featured.

Let’s jump right in with some:

Impressive Weibo Stats (Editor’s Choice):

  • Sina Weibo was launched in 2009. Currently, it’s been used by 248 million people on a daily basis.
  • Its monthly active users amount to 573 million. In comparison, 322 million people use Twitter every month.
  • Almost all users (94%) access Weibo via smartphone.
  • Weibo’s total 2020 revenue was $1.69 billion, which is a 4% decrease from its 2019 one ($1.77 billion).
  • Its advertising revenue for 2020 resulted in $1.49 billion—a 3% decrease from 2019 ($1.53 billion).
  • Weibo is currently worth around $5.2 billion. At its peak, it reached $29 billion.
  • 80% of the app’s users are under 30 years old.
  • The company employs around 5,000 people.

Weibo Users

The most important thing about a social media platform is its users.

Let’s dive into the key Weibo user statistics and see just how much the company has expanded in the last decade or so:

1. Weibo has 573 million monthly users.

(Source: Statista)

And if you want to know how many people are using Weibo on a daily basis, the answer is 248 million. What’s more, these numbers broadly correspond with Baidu’s ones as well. So we’re likely talking about 200-ish million daily active Chinese internet users and over half a billion people who access the Web at least once per month.

With such information at hand, questions like “Is Weibo popular in China?” quickly turn rhetorical. Just consider that in comparison, Twitter currently has 322 million MAUs (monthly active users).

2. Weibo was launched in 2009.

(Source: Faculty Washington)

It appeared immediately after the blocking of Twitter in China. So there are many speculations as to why the Chinese government decided to make such a move.

Some say it’s a response to the Ürümqi riots, which resulted in more than 100 Han Chinese dying. The riots came as a climax of the long-standing animosities between the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang and the Han Chinese government. However, it’s unlikely this would be the sole reason for blocking Twitter.

A second version points out that the same year, Beijing oversaw the 20th anniversary of another bloodbath—the Tiananmen square riots of 1989. Chinese Twitter users started criticizing the government more and more as the date approached. Then, only two days before the actual anniversary, Twitter was blocked.

3. Weibo reached 500 million registered users by 2013.

(Source: Faculty Washington)

It took only four years to reach such an astronomical number. However, even though Weibo indeed grew faster than Twitter, the app would not have succeeded if its American counterpart had not been banned in the first place.

4. Weibo hit 100 million daily posts in March 2012.

(Source: Faculty Washington)

Such Weibo statistics further prove the tremendous pace with which the platform is growing.

Even way back in the early 2010s, analysts were astonished at the sheer scale of this social media app—what was normal in the West (a post reaching tens or hundreds of retweets at the most) was nothing in China (their posts were reshared in the thousands).

5. In 2013, Sina Weibo conquered another milestone—54 million daily active users.

(Source: Faculty Washington)

By now, it’s pretty apparent how big Weibo has become in less than 10 years, right?

This is all part of the exponential development of China’s domestic smartphone market. As the 2000s moved on, producing high-performance mobile phones in China became cheaper, making products more available to the general population. The smartphone penetration rate in China is still on the rise (59% forecast for the end of 2022).

6. British ex-prime minister, David Cameron, reached 194,000 Weibo followers in just three days.

(Source: Faculty Washington)

David Cameron created his Weibo account in 2013 when he visited China. It took him only three days to reach almost 200,000 followers on the social platform.

However, David Cameron is a late adopter compared to the far-sightedness of Tom Cruise, who made his Weibo account back in 2011. He must have realized just how big the Chinese market is and, subsequently, how much the US cinema could benefit from it.

7. Weibo promulgated various new social media features.

(Source: Faculty Washington)

Although Weibo, and the Chinese industry in its entirety for that matter, have a reputation of being a bit of copycats, the Weibo website did introduce some interesting features, which were since adopted by the Western platforms.

We can include threaded comments, private chat, micro-groups, micro-events, and more in this list.

8. 94% of users access Weibo via smartphones.

(Source: AdChina)

In our Baidu article, we already told that the majority of Chinese use smartphones to access the internet—computers aren’t really a thing there. So it’s not that surprising to see that Weibo traffic, too, relies heavily on smartphone usage.

9. 80% of people who use Weibo are under 30.

(Source: Blogs.LSE)

Recent Weibo stats clearly show this is a platform for the young generation.

There’s a stark technology divide between older and younger people in China. Namely, in a few decades (from the 1970s to the early 2000s), the country went from a rural, agriculture-based society to an increasingly urban tech-wonderland. It’s only understandable that older people in China haven't really accepted new technologies, as they spent most of their lives without them.

Weibo Revenue

Now comes the part you’ve all been waiting for—just how much money does the Chinese Twitter make?

10. The Weibo social media platform makes around $1.69 billion per year.

(Source: IR Weibo)

Interestingly, Weibo’s advertising revenue accounts for a vast majority of the total—advertising brought $1.49 billion. Additionally, the Value-added service 2020 revenue equaled $203.8 million.

11. Weibo stock is worth around $21.

(Source: Yahoo Finance)

It peaked in February 2018 at $160. Right now, it’s at a bargain for just 21 bucks—a perfect moment for investing.

12. Weibo’s market cap peaked at $29 billion.

(Source: Companies Market Cap)

Currently, it’s sitting at $5.2 billion. It’s evident that changes in stock price closely follow the overall market cap, in this case at least.

According to Barron, there are several reasons behind Weibo’s plunging performance since 2018—namely, the weakening Chinese economy and the increasing competitiveness of the Chinese social media industry.

13. CNN expects Weibo stock to grow in the next 12 months.

(Source: CNN)

The Weibo stock forecast for the next 12 months is entirely positive. The most optimistic estimates expect it to grow to $56. A more conservative approach puts it at around $33, and even the pessimistic analysts believe it will grow, even by just a tiny bit.

The economy isn’t free from political influence, and it’s clear that forecasts can be affected by the political background of those who make them in the first place. With these estimates coming from CNN Business, even the usually critical voices towards China are pointing out to an expected growth in the recent future.

14. Weibo had 5,000 employees in 2020.

(Source: Macrotrends)

Quite a lot of people employed just by one company, don’t you think? Even so, it’s nothing compared to Baidu’s number of employees. So a more realistic comparison would once again be Twitter—the American company boasted a 5,500 employee count in 2020.

15. Weibo’s celebrity-sponsored posts could go up to $150,000.

(Source: Examine China)

Another essential fact about Weibo is that it’s considered a major influencer hub. The influencer business is pretty big in China as well, with some making significant cash from their ventures. What are some examples of Chinese influencers, you ask?

We can name  Papi Jiang (Papi酱), who makes short funny videos for his 30 million audience, or Ma Jianguo (回憶專用小馬甲), who also produces organic content. Jianguo’s channel was initially private, with him wanting a place just to store memories and share videos of his pets. Quite a turn of events, as he and his pets are major Chinese internet celebrities right now.

However, influencers also have to go along with the whims of Chinese censors. Papi Jiang faced serious issues for using coarse language and generally criticizing aspects of the modern Chinese lifestyle. As a result, her content was deemed to be insufficiently positive.

Is Weibo safe?

Although most of its users are Chinese, there’s still a sizeable portion of foreigners, emigrants and their offspring, and Westerners on the platform. So it’s time we considered the safety aspect of this social media and the potential threats it poses:

16. In 2012, comments on Weibo were shut down for three days.

(Source: Faculty Washington)

There were speculations that this was the government’s answer to Chinese citizens debating a possible CCP (Chinese Communist Party) coup online.

To give you a little perspective on China’s political scenery: Xi Jinping was general secretary of the CCP in 2012, and by the following year, he fostered his power by becoming the President of China. So it’s not exactly far-fetched to presume something big was already happening high up among Chinese officials, which resulted in Jinping ousting his most bitter rival Bo Xilai.

Xilai was pretty popular in China, building up a somewhat charismatic political persona. For the people of China, however, he probably wouldn’t be that different from Jinping, as both were planning on re-introducing some of the Mao-styled political and economic reforms.

17. Weibo was fined millions of dollars for lack of censorship.

(Source: CNN)

CCP officials are also wondering whether Weibo is reliable… which might seem hilarious, but it is what it is. For instance, in 2021, Weibo had to pay over $2.2 million for breaking various rules and for disseminating information deemed inappropriate by the government.

Due to such restrictions on freedom of speech, some people may wonder what exactly are the advantages of Weibo? In the light of recent events, we can see that censorship is also present in Western social media.

Moreover, Weibo gives a unique insight into modern Chinese culture, which cannot be accessed anywhere else as the Chinese mainly use their domestic platforms. It’s even fully accessible to foreigners, thanks to the Weibo translate and Weibo English versions.

18. Weibo was one of the primary reasons for China’s banning of Winnie the Pooh.

(Source: VOA News)

It was precisely on the Weibo app that comparisons between Winnie the Pooh and Xi Jinping started to emerge. Bloggers innocently joked around, but it seems that some people high up didn’t have their sense of humor and decided to respond… pretty harshly at that.

19. Qiu Ziming, a Weibo influencer and reporter with 2.5 million followers, was arrested in 2021.

(Source: English Chinamil)

This happened back when the Chinese had problems along the border with India. There were casualties, but CCP didn’t report about them, possibly in an attempt to avoid people interpreting the border skirmish as a Chinese defeat.

Qui Ziming suspected something along these lines, wondering what really happened and how many Chinese soldiers died. He reported his impressions, which led to his arrest and sentencing to eight months in prison.

Wrap-up

So we’ve just about shown you how important Weibo is in China. 

By discussing the advantages and disadvantages of using Weibo, its history, and its future, we now know the platform’s practically indispensable if you want to get to know China better, do business there, or simply converse with the Chinese people.

So we hope you enjoy our collection of the latest Weibo statistics. Do tell us what you think of the “Chinese Twitter” and if you’re curious enough to check it out?

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Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.