SINA Corp has registered more than 100 million microblog or Weibo users and will launch its own location-based service a start for the Nasdaq-listed company to make profit from its Twitter-like service, Shanghai Daily learned today.
Different from other LBS (location-based services) providers, the new Wei Ling Di service allows Sina Weibo users to know friends and store locations and check a celebrity's updates directly from the client end.
Wei Ling Di is now available for iPhone and Android phone users and for Nokia users probably next week, according to Sina's LBS partner Gypsii, a Shanghai-based start-up firm.
Both sides plan to officially launch the Wi Ling Di service next week with a new website, wld.sina.com, Shanghai Daily learned.
"In China, it's only a matter of time before large Chinese social networks start to roll out their own location-based services to retain users and expand their bases," Jeff Lin, senior vice president and managing director of GyPSii, said in a previous interview.
Sina and Gypsii will share the LBS income and the two are in talks to reach an financial agreement, such as a joint venture and Sina's investment in Gypsii, industry officials said.
Both sides declined to comment on the issue yesterday.
Sina's own LBS service partly answered the questions online: how does the Weibo service provider get real income besides wide attention and huge user base.
"Weibo is a catalyst for Sina's future," said Morgan Stanley in a report.
At present, Weibo has attracted about 60,000 celebrity bloggers, some 5,000 corporate users and more than 2,700 media users, making it the hottest online community in China.
But it now brings little real money to Nasdaq-listed Sina.
LBS services can pinpoint the geographical position of a mobile device and offer localized information and entertainment to the device owner, helping him or her find stores or cash machines in the vicinity or the whereabouts of a friend or colleague.
The LBS service providers can get income from shops for advertising and data analysis services, analysts said.