Sina Weibo, China’s most-popular microblogging platform, has officially dropped “Sina” from its name. Ahead of its planned IPO in the U.S., the company will now simply be known as “Weibo.”
“Goodbye Sina Weibo, hello Weibo!” read a post on the official Weibo microblog on March 28, the day of the name swap, the South China Morning Post reported. Logos and promotional materials have been changed as well to reflect the company’s new name, and the Twitter-like platform has used the domain www.weibo.com since 2011.
Weibo's parent, Sina Corp. (NASDAQ:SINA), already trades in the U.S. Weibo, which means microblog, filed on March 14 to raise $500 million through an initial public offering here.
The name change is seen as a smart, simple way to differentiate the company from competing platforms such as Tencent Weibo and NetEase Weibo. About 100 million messages are posted on Weibo each day, and the platform said it had about 129.1 million monthly active users at the end of 2013.
The service’s popularity isn't without challenges, however. In the past year, a number of Weibo’s VIP users -- those with many followers and considerable influence -- faced censorship accusations, causing other VIP users to desert the platform and switch to WeChat, a mobile messaging service developed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. (HKG:0700) that has more than 300 million active users, according to the South China Morning Post report.
The nonprofit China Internet Network Information Center said in an annual report in January that the number of microblog users in China decreased by 27.8 million in 2013.