Chinese internet firm Sina, microblogging service Weibo abruptly close Taiwan platforms amid rising geopolitical tensions
- Sina’s Chinese news portal in Taiwan turned dark on Monday, the same day that access to Weibo’s service on the island ceased
- The abrupt shutdown reflects heightened tension in cross-strait relations amid US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan
Sina’s Chinese news portal in Taiwan turned dark on Monday. Weibo’s service on the island ceased on the same day, but local users can still access its mainland website.
The decision to stop local services in Taiwan was based on “company strategy”, a Sina representative on the island said. Weibo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
While Sina and Weibo did not disclose Taiwan-specific operating results, both firms have recorded losses from non-China businesses over the past few years. Sina, which was previously a US-listed enterprise, posted losses of US$508 million and US$143 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively. Weibo has reported losses of US$232 million and US$57 million in 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Sina, which was founded in Beijing in November 1998, introduced a traditional Chinese version of its news portal for Taiwan that same year and established a local Weibo service on the island in 2013. Sina went private in March last year, 21 years after it became the first Chinese internet firm to list on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The abrupt shutdown of Sina and Weibo’s online platforms in Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province under its one-China principle, reflects heightened tension in cross-strait relations.