Weixin(WeChat) vs. Weibo: Social Networks fight to become Facebook of China

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Curious to know who would be the winner in Social networking battle of china – Weixin(WeChat) vs. Weibo ? Here we compare both networks head to head.

China’s giant social networks, Weixin and Weibo, have been in the publicity in the past two years because of their head-to-head competition with each other. The battle is heating up day by day to know – who is going to be Facebook of China? For quite a long time, Sina Weibo took the first position in China social media sharing ranking, but new upstart Weixin, is posing a big challenge to Weibo with its speedily growth in a notable short term. They are strict rivals…but actually, there is nothing to war as both have different aims, focuses and networks. Weibo – the matured one- is national, informative and polyphonous whilst the innovative one – Weixin is local, social and interactive. Both can coexist contentedly, only the matter is richness and variety of social media on smartphones. As Weixin is mobile-based and a text-messaging and voice messaging service, it would chop off somewhat of usertime from Weibo by giving advance touch to China’s social media.

Now, what Weixin(WeChat) vs. Weibo means if both are two completely different products that do different things,? But wait, always there are some strong aspects of the better one that help to make out the winner; so read details given below carefully, find out the best and set apart the CHAMP!

Deciding for the winner

Comparison would be much clear if it is based on proper introduction. Considering, let’s know first – what is Weibo? And what is Weixin?

Sina Weibo is a Chinese microblogging website, kind of a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook. It is one of the most popular sites in China and used by more than 30% of Internet users. As of Dec 2012, Weibo has 503 million registered users and about 100 million messages are posted on Sina Weibo every day. Various popular non China-based microblogging services like Twitter, Facebook and Plurk along with the first, domestic microblogging services Fanfou have been blocked from viewing After the July 2009 Ürümqi riots. This was golden opportunity for Weibo, considering SINA Corporation’s CEO Charles Chao launched Weibo on 14 August 2009. It started with basic functions like messages, private messages, comments and re-post; later it developed notably.

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Weibo is twitter-like information sharing and social contact platform of the china. Sina did really big things with Weibo, rising beyond the Twitter template and leading the Chinese social media market. Earlier, it was the only winner in the social media space who has seen a flow in popularity, but nowadays it is facing a rival. According to Sina Corp., the new one, Tencent’s fast-growing mobile messaging application WeChat is already taking user attention away. Now, the situation is that when it comes to instant messaging through social platforms, people are favoring WeChat over Weibo.

Showing how Weibo connects people

Weibo has literally revolutionized the Chinese society. On Weibo, you can get an open platform that facilitates open discussion among strangers and helps grow up your personal network. This way, information can be spread fast if it interests people. Anything from the Wenzhou high-speed rail crash, to chemical spills in Shanxi, Weibo allows users to pass information fairly, freely and in real time across great distances, transforming earlier localized and easily obscured issues into major national news stories. Sometimes, this may become out of control.

Weibo offers a single combination of Facebook in functionality and Twitter in form. On the other hand, WeChat’s service is mainly for mobile messaging – like to WhatsApp. To tap the pulse of public response on the news in China, knock on Weibo. But must remember that Weibo is most likely a public network, at where people share information publicly, anything they say or publish can be seen by everyone. However Weixin is more like private network, people sharing information content among friends, and people know each other.

Showing how Weixin(WeChat) connects people

Weixin was launched in January 2011 also called WeChat due to its English-language version. Unlike Weibo, it is used on any Internet-enabled mobile devices, not desktops. It allows sharing text, images along with short voice messages with more closeness. Here whatever you post can be seen only to “accepted” friends, and the kinds of information shared are typically intended only for a specific circle of friends and family. Sorry, but Weixin doesn’t have Facebook’s signature functions, where you can publicly “tagging” friends in photos and posts. Instead, whatever seen on your timeline is totally controlled by you.

Both have enjoyed phenomenal growth – WeChat has 236 million active monthly users, while Weibo has 54 million users who log on daily. This is because WeChat is a completely different service having a very different focus; here Weibo’s focus is far wider whereas WeChat’s focus is just circle of your friends and your local area. On WeChat, you can discuss with your friends and coworkers on any issues, but it stays limited in your local social circles. Although it does spread, that spread isn’t easily able to be seen or trackable, the way that weibo can.

It is true that Weixin is a fully different service with different focus compared to Weibo; so both are not comparable. Weibo is basically used for searching for and sharing information, with some chatty possibilities on the other hand, while Weixin is used for interacting with the genuine social circle. Here you can say that Weixin is more relationship strengthening purported for personal dialogue among connections when it comes to business confidential information and business DNA. Of course, Weibo may have more strength at this point but its frankness might cause viral effect.

Wechat was developed by a Chinese investment holding company named Tencent Holdings; QQ, a popular instant messaging service, is also owned by Tencent. QQ still has a larger as well as strong user base, particularly with the younger crowds like high school students. Ultimately, this would be plus points for Wechat. Here it is believed that Weixin or Wechat is normally used by older and wealthier individuals in China but when it comes to Sina Weibo, it has a smaller user base even if consists of people who live in urban areas.

The main aspect that distinguishes WeChat (Weixin) from Weibo is that, all your conversations remain confidential at WeChat platform – except you or your fan spread it out. On Weibo you share your views with your followers all over the country, also they pass it on to theirs; fast, and thus it can go national. It means what you earlier considered a local problem is now a national one, and as this happens, you’re more expected to push for national changes instead of just complaining about your local authorities.

Unlike wide-reaching Weibo, Weixin is a more personal affair that focuses on connecting with your real-life friends only and those in your local neighborhood. By restricting conversations to friends-only, Weixin helps you connect with a close system and doesn’t fairly support interaction among strangers. Weixin go for a more pared-down look that works more like a personalized RSS feed.

Thus from PC to mobile, the speed at which Weixin has been integrated into every day life in urban China is prominent because it integrates the beauty of mobile instant communication with photo & video sharing, one to one and group chatting, usual text messages, social sharing, finding close Weixin users etc. At some notable points, similarity ends; like Weibo’s revenue model is slanted on advertising, while WeChat has just introduced gaming so that users will pay for in-game extras.

We all know that Western stores and merchandise are often imitated in China; Social networks are not an exception. For example, Renren is often called the Chinese Facebook, Weibo as the Chinese Twitter and Youku as the Chinese YouTube. The scene is changed here. As with Wechat, the Chinese are setting the stage, instead of just imitating it. Wechat is the first Chinese social network that is gaining fame worldwide. With its global ambitions, it has covered a big user base in Asia, and it is gradually expanding in Western countries. Wechat is noted with about 100 million registered users outside China. As per the tech website TechinAsia.com reports of August, Weixin was also the fifth most popular smartphone app.

Today, people have so much time in a day to spend on mobile social networking rather than PC. And, we all know that Wechat is a mobile-based text and voice messaging service, and it is much more personal and convenient to communicate with people to whom you would converse on a regular basis. This is the main reason why the users spend more time on WeChat and less on Weibo. That’s it.

Now, all those points about sharing the picture of a polluted river, and the narrow impact of sharing it on your Weixin network, etc. compared with Weibo, are wrong. Being private network, preaching about something like this to friends on Weixin is obviously rubbish; they may tend to switch off. The same is the perfect thing to share on Weibo, in rewards you will get comments, reposts and the likes. So as the two platforms have approving functionalities on their own side; both can/ will coexist.

Image Source: blog.sekkeistudio.com

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