Weibo’s own version of Instagram in the works

The Alibaba-backed microblogging site aims to chip away users from its popular rival app, RED.

Photo:Shutterstock.com

Weibo is developing a new photo-sharing app called “Oasis,” which has been publicly tested since Monday, as it seeks to find new sources of growth.

Targeting younger generations with the slogan “find a beautiful world,” Oasis has similarities with Instagram and RED, a popular Chinese social e-commerce platform well-known as Xiaohongshu. Oasis allows users to upload and edit photos or videos with tags and locations. Users can also explore content based on different interests like style, food, and sports.

Users can only log in with an invitation code at the moment. It’s unclear when Oasis might launch and how Weibo would monetize it.

With 486 million monthly active users, Weibo is one of the biggest social media companies in the world, but recent years have seen its growth slowing down. Its net profit fell 30% year-on-year to USD 103 million in the second quarter of 2019, while net revenue inched up 1% to USD 432 million, according to the company’s financial results released last month.

For the 10-year-old Weibo, which has long coveted RED’s strong engagement among young users, Oasis could represent an effort to chip away its rival’s appeal, industry watchers say.