Weibo Has More MAUs in China Than Twitter

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) may have had a blowout March quarter, but when it comes to its user numbers, a social network copycat in China is doing even better: Weibo Corp. (WB).

Earlier in the week, Weibo, which is owned by Sina Corp. (SINA), reported first-quarter results in which it said its monthly active users (MAUs) came in at 340 million, which is up 30% from the year earlier March quarter. What’s more, the China microblogging operator said 91% of the users were accessing the platform from a mobile device. Average daily users in March were 154 million, marking a 28% year-over-year increase. (See also: Twitter Surge: User Growth Upends Street Views.)

Twitter, which is officially banned in China, was able to post a strong showing in terms of users as well: 328 million. Wall Street was looking for Twitter to weigh in with 321 million users. The upside in MAUs, EPS and revenue compared to the Wall Street consensus was enough to lift shares of Twitter when it reported quarterly earnings late last month. (See also: Will Twitter's Big Bet on China Pay Off?

The Chinese Internet

The strong showing on the part of Weibo comes as China has seen a slew of consumers flock to the internet over the years. The China Internet Network Information Centre reported there were 731 million Chinese internet users at the end of last year, accounting for 53.2% of the population in the country. That means close to half of all of China’s internet users are also on Weibo. Twitter is among the technology companies, including Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG) Google, Facebook Inc. (FB) and Wikipedia that have been shutout of the market in China. That has paved the way for copycat services like Weibo. 

Last April, Twitter raised eyebrows when it announced a new managing director for its China operations. The new hire—Kathy Chen—had left many bewildered as Twitter's service hasn't been granted access in China. (See also: Why Facebook is Banned in China.)

Nearly a year later, and Twitter lost Chen and a host of other executives in Asia Pacific. Among the executives to leave in that region, according to TechCrunch, included Aliza Knox, the head of Asia Pacific; Parminder Singh, head of India and Southeast Asia; Rishi Jaitly, the head in India, and Australia’s Karen Stocks. According to Recode, for all of 2016, Twitter has seen a remarkable 60% of its executives depart.

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