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China's new microblogging rules to make Weibo more attractive
Real-identity registration rules to take effect Friday.
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New real-identity rules to be imposed on China's Weibo are likely to make the country's most popular microblogging platform more alluring to advertisers, as Sina Corp seeks to start generating revenue from its product later this year.

On Friday, Beijing-based users on Weibo will need to be registered with their real identities in order to post online.

Other major cities, such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, are expected to adopt similar rules.

Analysts said the move was unlikely to cause a steep drop in user engagement and may actually see an up tick in advertiser interest, as the identity rules would weed out spam accounts and give Sina precious user information that could turn the platform into a money-spinning crown jewel.

"It's not going to have a major impact on user engagement because there's nothing else that does what this platform does in real time," said Shanghai-based marketing consultant T.R. Harrington.

"From an advertising targeting perspective Weibo has the potential to become much more valuable," Harrington said.

Weibo, dubbed the Twitter of China, allows users to post short messages, gather fans and follow other users. It is valued up to $4.5 billion by analysts, compared to Twitter that is valued at $8 billion based on its latest round of financing.

China's online advertising market rose 57 percent to 51.2 billion yuan ($8.1 billion) last year, surpassing traditional newspaper advertising, according to Beijing-based consultancy iResearch.

Sina was the fourth-largest advertising platform after Baidu Inc, Google China and Taobao.

 

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