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Weibo opens e-commerce management tool to over 500 million users

This move comes after the firm’s net income in the fourth quarter of last year decreased by 42.9% year-on-year.

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

Chinese social media platform Weibo has launched a tool called Weibo Xiaodian, allowing all its users to engage in e-commerce, reported online news portal Sina Tech on Saturday. Sina is Weibo’s parent company.

Weibo Xiaodian enables the microblogging platform’s users to add goods hosted on C2C marketplaces including Taobao, JD.com and SaaS vendor Youzan to the platform. This tool also makes it easy for them to market these goods.

Along with the launch of Weibo Xiaodian, Weibo has also rolled out a slew of measures to boost e-commerce, offering incentives to content providers and buyers, such as allowing some users to livestream. The company has also established an online e-commerce academy for participants in the industry to learn to monetize their presence on Weibo.

This new move comes as Weibo, which counts Alibaba as its investor and largest client, pulls out all the stops to build an e-commerce ecosystem.

The company said last September that its platform will completely integrate with Alipay, allowing merchants on the third-party payment platform to expand their business reach through the Weibo social network.

In January, Weibo invested in Shanghai-based e-commerce platform Ymatou, which operates on a C2C model and carries a wide variety of merchandise from 80,000 professional buyers located in 83 countries. In addition, Ymatou has its own logistics arm operating in 15 countries and regions, allowing cross-border parcels to arrive at end-buyers within five days.

However, even with 516 million monthly active users as of December 2019, Weibo is lagging behind Pinduoduo and Xiaohongshu (known as Little Red Book in English) in social e-commerce.

Pinduoduo, which was set up in September 2015 and gained its first followers via WeChat, booked RMB 10.79 billion (USD 1.55 billion) in total revenues in the fourth quarter of 2019, up by 91% year-on-year.

Xiaohongshu, which was set up six years ago to provide shopping tips for Chinese outbound tourists, has turned into an online social content and e-commerce platform with 300 million total users and 100 million monthly active users as of July 2019. The startup, which is valued at more than USD 3 billion after its Series D round led by Alibaba in June 2018, said last November that it has rolled out a content creator center and would test run a brand cooperation platform, a product recommendation function, and a live streaming platform, to help trendsetters improve efficiency and better monetize their influence.

Weibo missed analyst expectations in the fourth quarter of last year, posting USD 468.1 million in net revenues from advertising and marketing services, down 3% year-on-year (YoY). The firm’s net income during the same period also decreased by 42.9% YoY, to USD 95.1 million. The company’s market capitalization now stands at about USD 4.1 billion.