Saturday, May 2, 2015

Apple CEO Tim Cook joins Weibo, Twitter's substitute in China

Apple is seeking new ways to expand its business in China as Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly emphasized on it. He has stated that China is a new source of growth for the company. He doubled down on that sentiment recently by joining the famous Chines Social Media service "Weibo" that is actually a micro-blogging service similar to Twitter in many ways.

The verified account displayed a message from Cook on Monday that read, in English and Chinese, " Hello China! Happy to be back in Beijing Hello China! Happy to be back in Beijing, announcing innovative new environmental programs." The environmental note was a reference to Apple's Monday announcement regarding clean energy and environmental protection initiatives in China. According to reports, Weibo has roughly 175.7 million monthly active users, a little more than half Twitter's 302 million monthly active users. Still, Weibo is widely regarded as one of the leading micro-blogging services in China — second only to Tencent's WeChat, which some reports claim has 500 million monthly active users.

Tim Coock's first message on Weibo :

" Hello China! Happy to be back in Beijing "

As China's economic and cultural influence has increased in recent years, with the country becoming the world's number one economy in 2014, Weibo has attracted many well-known U.S. names, such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, NBA star Kobe Bryant and actors Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise and Samuel L. Jackson. Cook's presence on Twitter is limited, with messages ranging from company news to comments about social issues. Given China's well-documented crackdown on Internet-based free speech, it's likely that Cook will limit his Weibo comments to topics far less politically-charged than his Twitter messages around LGBT laws and workplace rights. But Cook has been known to deliver a few surprises — so it may be a good idea for Apple watchers to keep an eye on his new Weibo account, just in case.

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