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Phuket News: China's Weibo to expand into Thailand

BANGKOK: Weibo.com, the world's third-largest social media site, has selected Thailand as one of 10 countries in which it will expand this year.

By Bangkok Post

Sunday 14 April 2013, 03:50PM

The Chinese firm aims to make its site a business gateway for Thai companies exporting to China.

Chinese internet firms have flocked to Thailand in the past few years. Among them is Tencent, the world's third-largest internet firm, which in 2010 acquired a 49.92% stake in Sanook.com for US$10 million.

Baidu, the largest Chinese search engine, has set up an office in Thailand. The company introduced Baidu PC Faster, a free antivirus program, which now has 3 million users since the beta version was launched in the middle of last year.

Rui Guo, managing director of Jiaranai Entertainment, the authorised sales agent of Weibo in Thailand, said the popularity of social media in Thailand led Weibo to expand its presence here.

In addition, she said Thailand is an economic hub for Asean and boasts many popular tourist destinations, adding that the number of Chinese travelling to Thailand will reach 3.8 million this year.

Designed and developed by Sina Co, Ms Guo said Weibo is a Chinese micro-blogging site, a combination of Twitter and Facebook.

As of December 2012, Weibo had 503 million users with 47 million active users a day.

Jiaranai Entertainment is providing a verification service for companies in Thailand to assure standards for products and services, said Ms Guo.

The company charges customers a one-time 60,000-baht verification fee. It will share revenue with Weibo.

Jiaranai is also providing consultancy, online marketing and translation.

Ms Guo said the Weibo site has 800,000 visitors in Thailand, mainly Chinese people living in the country.

"We expect to double the number of visitors to 1.6 million this year, including 1,000 organisations involved in hospitality and exporting," she said.

Ms Guo said having a verified official account enables Thai companies to attract potential buyers in China.

Since Facebook and Twitter cannot be used in China, Weibo is an alternative for Thai firms to enter the Chinese market, she said.

Ms Guo said that the company has a marketing budget of 10 million baht this year.

"We aim to realise 30 million baht in revenue in the first year of our operation," she said.

Read the original story here.



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