Sina Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, is "actively preparing" to launch an English version of its popular microblogging platform by the end of 2011.
As expected, the international site is slated to be hosted in China, and as such, will be subject to regulations imposed by Beijing.
The Chinese-based site - with 140 million users - will obviously try to take on Twitter, which currently boasts a global user base of (approximately) 300 million. Twitter is currently available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Japanese, German, French, Italian and Korean.
Does Sina Weibo have a realistic chance of breaking into the international market?
Well, the social networking site continues to grow rapidly, and remains on target to hit 200 million (Chinese) users by the end of the year.
Earlier this year, Sina Weibo announced its plan to monetize and has been frequently rolling out new features in an effort to attract more users.
As is noted above, Sina Weibo currently faces mandatory censorship under Chinese law, which is likely to be an obstacle when offering the service in other countries that protect freedom of speech.
Obviously, only time will tell if Sina Weibo can truly penetrate the international microblogging market and strip Twitter of some of its 300 million users.
May the best social networking site win.
[Via TechWeb & Reuters]