Sina Weibo removes the 'Sina' from its name, now just 'Weibo'
The name change may have been done in preparation for Weibo's upcoming American IPO
China’s foremost microblogging platform has dropped the “Sina” from its name and is now officially known as just “Weibo”.
“Goodbye Sina Weibo, hello Weibo!” read a post on the official Weibo microblog on March 28, the day of the name swap.
Weibo’s logo and other promotional materials have been altered to reflect this change, which may have come for the sake of simplicity - particularly since the Twitter-like social media service has owned the www.weibo.com domain name since 2011.
Weibo may have also decided to shorten its name in preparation for entrance into the American stock market.
In early March, the microblog service filed to raise US$500 million through a US initial public offering.
The phrase “weibo” literally means “microblog” in Putonghua, and Sina’s version has long been China’s most popular, with about 100 million messages posted each day.
Despite this, competitors such as the lesser-used Tencent Weibo and Netease Weibo do exist. It is currently unclear whether either service will be affected by the name change.
In a December 2013 report, Weibo announced that it had about 129.1 million monthly active users.
The service, while still China’s most popular social network, has faced censorship accusations as well as competition from WeChat, an mobile messaging service developed by rival Tencent that is purported to boast over 300 million active users.
A January report published by the China Internet Network Information Center revealed that WeChat was likely to benefit in 2014 from increased numbers of Chinese internet users who preferred to use mobile apps to access the web and communicate.
In contrast, the report showed that the number of microblogging users across the country had decreased since 2012 by 27.8 million.