SHANGHAI — A few years ago, digital-marketing strategists were buzzing about how brands needed to tap into Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, as a platform to communicate with the country’s more than 500 million Internet users.
But now there is an alternative. While Sina Weibo, the most popular Chinese microblog site operated by Internet giant Sina Corporation, still remains an important component of brands’ digital marketing mix, a new social networking service has emerged that is rapidly becoming the next must-use tool to communicate with tech-savvy Chinese consumers. It is called WeChat, and since Tencent Holdings, also a Chinese Internet behemoth, launched it in late 2011, the service has amassed some 300 million users, 70 million of whom are located outside the mainland.
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