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iOS 5 deep integration with Weibo?

Posted by C.S. Hsia on · Comments

Chalk this up as pure fantasy and speculation at this point. Today Apple announced iOS 5 with deep integration of Twitter. You can now Tweet from photo app, your Safari browser, just about everywhere inside of iOS5.

Deep twitter integration into iOS 5

Wonderful right? Problem is, Twitter is banned behind the Great Firewall of China.

China is one of the biggest mobile phone markets in the World, and despite the primary provider not offering the iPhone (think Verizon in the US up till this year), there's no stopping people's desire to have the latest and greatest. Everywhere you go in China, people are carrying Apple devices. So will Apple disable a large part of their iOS for China, or will they pick up a local variant of micro-blogging?

Weibo, a micro-blogging service offered by Sina.com, has emerged as the leader in 140-character messages. In fact, there are so many similarities that one can call it a Chinese knock-off of Twitter directly, albeit with a bit of government censorship. The API's, the interface, even the lingo, everything's bares much resemblance. Theoretically, Apple could swap in Twitter for Weibo in China.

Swap in Weibo for Twitter?

Of course, Sina would like to see this happen. Deep integration would give Sina's Weibo a huge advantage over its competitors, and would be a critical step in helping Sina finally monetize the Weibo service.

Will Apple want this to happen? Despite having similar services, Twitter and Sina are very different entities to deal with. Twitter's a prospering start-up from the Bay Area that share many of Apple's values, while Sina is a massive Chinese media portal with very close ties to the Chinese Government. However a deep integration will push Apple even further into the hearts of Chinese consumers.

Time will tell, this September.

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