Tencent on Sept. 4 announced to officially terminate the service and operation of its microblogging website Tencent Weibo at 11:59 pm on Sept. 28, Beijing local time, marking the end of the decade-long battle between Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo.
The announcement was issued on Tencent Weibo’s official website, stating that “due to business adjustments, services and operations will be suspended at 23:59 on Sept. 28, 2020. You (Users) will not be able to log in afterwards. You (Users) can back up relevant information before the shut down if necessary.”
Launched in April 2010 and backed by Internet giant Tencent, Tencent Weibo became a strong rival against Sina Weibo, which was developed by Sina Corporation months earlier in August 2009.
On May 1, 2010, Tencent began to invite users to register their Weibo account.
Then on Nov. 11 in the following year, Liu Chiping, president of Tencent, revealed that Tencent Weibo grew rapidly in the third quarter of 2011.
As of Sept. 30 that year, its number of registered users exceeded 310 million, achieving an increase of more than 70 million from the end of June. Meanwhile, the number of daily active users (DAUs) surpassed 50 million.
While Tencent Weibo was celebrating its swift growth in DAUs and registered users, Sina Weibo announced that its number of registered users reached 250 million and had twice the number of active users as Tencent, with the goal to add more social network functions and raise user loyalty.
Two invisible parties, Qzone and WeChat, also participated in the battle, namely between Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, accelerating the defeat of Tencent Weibo.
The purpose of Tencent Weibo was to reach more users that Tencent QQ, an instant messaging application also known as QQ, failed to touch upon.
The truth, however, went in the opposite direction.
“I started to use it in 2011 when I was in middle school,” Mengyao Chen, a then loyal user of Tencent Weibo and now a post graduate student from Nanjing said.
As an ardent user of QQ, Mengyao loved sharing her everyday life on both QQ’s Qzone and Tencent Weibo. “The default sharing option bound Tencent Weibo and Qzone so that the same content could be synced on both platforms,” she said.
However, she mentioned that she and her friends interacted with each other over the same posts less on Tencent Weibo while more than on Qzone.
Developed and released in 2005, Qzone still exists as an active social networking website, outliving Tencent Weibo with its wider popularity among users.
WeChat was yet another factor that caused problems for Tencent Weibo.
The multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app WeChat was also developed by parent company Tencent 9 years ago but gradually went viral as functions like WeChat pay developed in 2013.
As WeChat rose to become China’s “super app”, a large cohort of users shifted to WeChat and start posting text, photos and videos on “WeChat Moments.”
Then in 2014, Sina Corporation announced a spinoff of Weibo as an independent entity and filed an IPO and Sina Weibo (NASDAQ: WB) began pubic trading in April 2014.
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Other than Tencent Weibo, other microblogging websites in China also chose to exit the market as Sina grew stronger.
In November 2014, users could only browse existing content on Sohu Weibo but could not post new content on the website.
In the same month, Netease Weibo announced that it officially shut down and encouraged users to transfer to LOFTER, its light blog brand.
The news of Tencent Weibo shutting down became a trending topic on Sina Weibo with the hashtag #Tencent Weibo Shut Down Operation on Sept. 28# on Sept. 5.