Sina Weibo, China’s most popular equivalent of Twitter, has a community of 324 million users who are currently using its services for free. Few days ago, Sina has formally introduced a VIP paid membership package for registered users. The monthly subscription fee is priced at 10 yuan (US$1.57). The paid service offers a range of privileges related to members’ registered identities, security, functions and mobile phones. But more than 80% of users said they will never pay for the service and they feel “antipathy” about it.
In more details, the VIP membership will include fifteen functions like a fancier personal webpage, accelerated browsing speed, VIP labels, following a higher number of users, receiving SMS birthday alerts, password reminders priority for recommendations on the Sina platforms and other features like voice services. Does all these new function worthwhile for users to pay 10 yuan each month? The major competitor of Sina Weibo — Sohu Weibo, has quickly announced that they will NEVER charge customers for its services.
At the start of this year, Sina reported a quarterly loss mainly due to the costs of running the microblogging platform as well as decreased revenue from advertising. This newly launch preimum package is obviously a move to monetize its vast community. However, so far, its users are not happy with the service. Here are some comments from Sina Weibo’s users:
shrek围脖: “If Sina Weibo starts to charge users 10 RMB a month, then I am more likely to use VPN to use Facebook.”
Jacky_deng: “It is fine if Sina Weibo takes charges, but they better give us with freedom of speech, and please don’t disable any search terms!”
青稞酒Q: “I have a suggestion for Sina Weibo, can they set up a charge for anti-censor? Those who had paid will be able to see censored contents.”
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