Weibo: The Chinese Social Media Business Model
(7 pages of text)
In 2012, Sina Weibo stood out from competing microblogging products and developed into the largest social media platform in China. However, in 2013, competition from WeChat, a lack of high-quality content, and the exposure of an excessive number of fake accounts led to difficulties for Sina Weibo. By addressing three aspects of user activity—content producers, content consumers, and the platform operator—Sina Weibo was able to get back on the right track. The platform went from a loss in 2014 to a profit in 2018. However, behind the prosperity, in January 2019, Sina Weibo was facing new threats—namely, the disappearance of Chinese Internet user traffic dividends and competition from rivals Toutiao and Douyin. Sina Weibo’s chief executive officer had to determine how to deal with these new threats.
This case is intended for graduate- and executive-level courses in entrepreneurial management and innovation management. The case will familiarize students with the development of the social media industry in China. After working through the case study and assignment questions, students will be able to
- understand the business model framework of social media platforms;
- analyze the internal and external factors that drive the business model innovation of social media platforms; and
- understand how to innovate the business model of a social media platform.
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