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Four Insights About Weibo's Audience

Mobile-focused and highly educated users drive a resurgence in for Chinese microblogging service

March 14, 2017

The Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo has seen a resurgence.

Thanks to growing user interest in its new short video and live streaming products, the platform experienced a 33% year-over-year growth rate in monthly active users (MAUs) in 2016, according to its end-of-year earnings statement. The company also reported that it had 100 million daily active users (DAUs) late last year.

Here are some interesting facts on Weibo users culled from the company’s annual users’ report.

Desktop/Laptop vs. Mobile Share of Weibo User Logins in China*, 2016 (% of total)

No. 1: Weibo Users Are Overwhelmingly Mobile

Unsurprisingly, mobile-focused Weibo reports that the vast majority of its user logins are made on mobile devices. Based on monthly averages, nearly 90% of Weibo’s logins came from mobile in 2016. Clearly, Weibo is capitalizing on the large and growing number of smartphone users in China. eMarketer estimates there will be 593.4 million smartphone users in the country by the end of this year.

No. 2: Educated Users Flock to the Platform

Weibo’s annual report revealed that those with high levels of education made up the largest share of its users. In fact, 77.8% of users last year had an education of university-level or higher. Those with just a high school education accounted for 15.7% of users, while elementary school-level users made up 6.5%.

The report also revealed that Weibo users skewed slightly male, at 55.5% of the platform’s total users in 2016.

No. 3: Weibo Finds an Audience in Lower City Tiers

Weibo increasingly holds appeal among users in lower-tier cities. More than half of its users came from second- (25%) and third-tier (26%) cities in mainland China last year. Tier 4 cities and below accounted for 30% of users, while only 16% were found in China’s tier 1 cities. A combined 2% were located in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and other countries.

No. 4: More than 90% of Video Users Under 30

According to the report, nearly 90% of Weibo’s video viewers are ages 30 and under. Those 23 to 30 made up the largest proportion of viewers, accounting for 39.1%, followed by 18- to 22-year-olds (34.3%) and 11- to 17-year-olds (15.8%). Viewership among older cohorts was a small contributor: Those 31 or older made up just 10.7% of video viewers.

—Rahul Chadha

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