Fri, Feb 24, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Social networks change media communications

Staff Writer, with CNA

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and various microblogging sites are changing the way companies, governments and the traditional media communicate, experts from online companies said yesterday.

“Social media will have great impact on business models in the future,” Charles Chao (趙廣民), president and chief executive of Sina Corp, said in a keynote speech titled “The Digital Economy — A New Gold Mine” at the CommonWealth Economic Forum in Taipei.

“Social media accomplishes the ability of two-way communications, making it possible for everyone to create and share content,” he said. “It also, for the first time, enables enterprises to have conversations directly with consumers.”

Sina Weibo was launched in 2009, a major Chinese-language social network across China, Taiwan and Hong Kong that publishes 100 million messages per day.

The number of registered Sina Weibo users jumped from 1 million in November 2009 to 80 million in 2010 and more than 200 million last year, making it one of the most popular social networking Web sites in China.

Chao said business accounts on Sina Weibo now total 100,000, and the number is expected to reach 1 million this year.

“Firms will be able to make and launch new products that will better meet consumers’ demands, based on their opinions,” Chao said.

He said social media are also changing the management of governments and society. For example, many influential people have been expressing their opinions on public affairs on microblogs, making messaging in society more “transparent and balanced,” he said.

Rose Tsou (鄒開蓮), senior vice president for the Asia-Pacific region at Yahoo, said social networking Web sites have reshaped the one-way communication in the traditional media and changed the channels of dialogue between corporates and customers.

She said that more than 7 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China have set up wholesale storefronts on Alibaba.com, while about 10,000 SMEs in Taiwan have opened online stores to seek deeper interaction with consumers.

Such online stores could save 40 percent of costs and increase margins by 15 percent for these companies, Tsou said.

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