A year ago, Weibo was China's hottest social network. Now WeChat is the only place to be. Why the dramatic shift?
SHENZHEN, China -- Sometimes, the significance of an event happening outside your own personal universe doesn't really hit you until you travel, hear what locals are saying, and encounter it firsthand.
WeChat in China is a good example.
I bring up WeChat here, not because I think China's WeChat is so much more wonderful than WhatsApp, which was recently acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. WeChat tickled my fancy because, due to its astonishingly quick rise, it is a microcosm of China. People here, and Internet companies, jump on a social phenomenon en masse, as soon as they sense it's starting to catch fire.
A year ago, Sina Weibo, China's microblogging site, was all the rage in China. This year, every friend I have in China, and the people I'm meeting for interviews, are on WeChat. It's palpable (and almost scary) how quickly Weibo seems to be cooling off.
During our meeting a year ago, Ni Fei, CEO of Nubia, ZTE's sub-brand for high-end smartphones, was all about the million followers he has in Weibo.
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