Thursday, July 12, 2012

(BN) Sina Offers Web TV Service to Win China Social Networkers

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Sina Corp., operator of the Twitter- like Weibo site in China, plans to start a new Internet television service, stepping up efforts to add multimedia content to win social networking users.

Sina will offer the "social television" service with BesTV New Media Co., according to details posted on Mao Taotao, a public relations manager at Sina in Beijing, confirmed the contents of the site. The companies will unveil the new service at an event in Shanghai today that will be attended by executives including Charles Chao, Sina's chief executive officer.

Chao is expanding the range of services for users of Weibo, which has signed up more than 300 million accounts, as Sina faces competition from rivals led by Tencent Holdings Ltd. Sina seeks to maintain the appeal of China's most-popular microblogging site, as it aims to boost advertising sales.

The new service will help Sina attract other partners in the television industry and application developers to offer content on Weibo, the company said on

Sina, based in Shanghai, rose 3.2 percent to $49.56 at 1:12 p.m. in New York trading. The stock has declined 4.7 percent this year, underperforming the Hong Kong-traded shares of Tencent, which have gained 41 percent.

China Restrictions

Sina Weibo is China's most-popular microblogging service by activity, generating four times the number of pageviews on average from each user, compared to Tencent's, according to a April 20 report by Morgan Stanley.

Last month, Sina reached an agreement with Zynga Inc. to offer the San Francisco-based company's "Draw Something" game in China. BesTV New Media, a Shanghai-based provider of video services, is a unit of state-owned Shanghai Media Group.

Still, the Chinese government, which restricts access to foreign social networking services including those of Facebook Inc., is increasing curbs of online video content.

The official Xinhua News Agency said on July 9 that the government had called on online-video websites to examine videos before making them available for viewing, and said that the nation is planning an anti-pornography campaign focused on videos, books, magazines and online content.


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