Baidu (NSDQ: BIDU) is closing its microblogging platform, in what is a victory for Chinese portal Sina (NSDQ: SINA) in the Twitter rival stakes.
Baidu, led by CEO Robin Li, told users it will shut Shuoba on August 22, due to an unspecified “business adjustment”.
Reuters: “Industry experts chalked up Shuoba’s stringent real name verification features as the reason the service failed to gain much traction with China’s netizens.”
Shuoba has just 13.2 percent of active Chinese microblog users, behind the Weibos operated by Sina and Tencent.
Sina Weibo has 140 million users, plans to hit 200 million and is aiming to expand out of China.
In China, the microblog platforms tend to be more fully-featured than Twitter; they included built-in multimedia services way before the Silicon Valley company began adding them lately.
And microblogs are taking Chinese life by storm, ushering in greater transparency in a society whose government is often restrictive.
This summer, Nasdaq-listed Baidu’s Q2 profit nearly doubled.