Wed, Feb 29, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Microblog name rules could curb growth: Sina

AFP, Beijing

Chinese Web giant Sina Corp (新浪) yesterday warned that government requirements for microbloggers to register their real names before posting messages will hurt activity on its popular social networking site.

Sina chief executive Charles Chao (趙廣民) said more than 40 percent of new registered users for its Weibo (微博) microblogging site had failed verification screenings since the Beijing city government announced the new regulations in December.

“We believe that the requirement to convert existing users into verified users ... will have a negative impact on user activity in the short term,” Chao said, after announcing Sina swung to a net profit in the fourth quarter.

“We cannot rule out any new tightening policy that may be introduced in future, which may further impact on our user growth and user activity in a negative way,” he said.

Despite the uncertain regulatory outlook, Chao told a conference call that Sina still planned to “invest heavily” in microblogs this year after its total number of registered users tripled to 300 million last year.

Beijing announced in December that users of microblogs would have to give their real names to Web site administrators by March 16 or be barred from posting. Authorities in Shanghai and Guangdong Province have since introduced similar measures.

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