Ireland launches Weibo site
It’s hard to overstate the importance of Weibo in China. Although it only launched in 2010, Weibo now has more than 500 million registered users with 100 million messages posted every day.
Twitter and Facebook are banned, but netizens flock to domestic social media, such as Sina Weibo, the most popular microblogging site, and often post comments that would not pop up anywhere else, such as remarks that are critical of local government officials or to express anger over broader state policy.
China is the world’s largest internet market with 591 million users and, in the last year, the number of people who surf the web from smartphones and tablets rose by 20 per cent.
This year, China’s mobile internet market will reach 648 million users.
Increasingly, the best way to get someone’s attention in China is to post it on Weibo, hence the launch of weibo.com/irelandinchina.
Ireland’s Weibo site has various cultural functions, but also has a commercial function in offering ideas for travel to Ireland, as well as Irish cultural activities in Shanghai and the region.
“It will also assist in positioning Ireland as an excellent place for Chinese tourists to visit, a highly reputed study destination and a country offering many business opportunities,”
said Austin Gormley, the consul general of Ireland in Shanghai.
The Weibo account includes weekly information on the Irish visa process and is expected to run frequent business and news updates from Ireland. It is linked to the Tourism Ireland Weibo and the IDA Ireland Investment Weibo.
“I am very confident that our renewed presence on social media will help promote mutual understanding, friendship and people-to-people exchanges between Ireland and China, “ said Mr Gormley.
“There are many links between Ireland and Shanghai across business, investment, education, tourism, culture and through the vibrant Shanghai-Cork sister city relationship. The new ‘Ireland in China’ Weibo will help strengthen those links, creating new and dynamic ways for us to connect and exchange,” he added.