Chinese social app Weibo is used by almost 25 per cent of people in China, and that number is rising rapidly.
According to research from eMarketer, the app userbase will have expanded by 17 per cent in 2018, which accounts for over 340 million people. That number is expected to surpass 400 million in the next three years.
eMarketer also predicts that Weibo's ad revenues will have grown by a huge 65 per cent in 2018 alone, bringing the company's profits to $1.54bn.
“Weibo has evolved into an entertainment platform that encompasses the features of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit and YouTube rolled into one,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Shelleen Shum.
“Weibo has remained competitive by innovating away from text-based content to more visually rich formats such as videos, live streams and photos,” Shum said. “Its partnerships with local TV networks, foreign sports leagues, celebrities and online influencers have allowed it to create a rich library of engaging content that caters to a variety of interests.”
Weibo is often referred to as China's version of Twitter. The app launched in 2009 and amassed 72 million users in three years, almost ten times the user base Twitter had accumulated three years into its lifespan.
“Twitter has taken strides in a similar direction to Weibo, but it was slower to move away from text-based content and has failed to integrate these different aspects as seamlessly as Weibo.” Shum added.