Date
11 December 2017
Almost eight million Sina Weibo users are paying for goods and services bought online through the company's payment platform. Photo: Reuters
Almost eight million Sina Weibo users are paying for goods and services bought online through the company's payment platform. Photo: Reuters

Sina Weibo eyes HK retailers to boost online payment business

Sina Hong Kong Ltd. aims to collaborate with more Hong Kong retailers to step up its foray into the online payment market.

As of the end of October, almost eight million users of its highly popular Sina Weibo microblog service are paying for goods and services bought online through the company’s payment platform, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.

The company saw online-to-offline (O2O) transactions via its platform triple in value in the three months to September compared with the second quarter, marketing head Salina Ghafur told the newspaper in an interview.

Sina is using Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Alipay system to provide the payment function for its Weibo users. The company also received equity investment from Alibaba in January this year.

Mainland smartphone producers, such as Xiaomi and Meizu, have long been selling their products on Sina Weibo.

But as part of its expansion plan, Sina wants Hong Kong-based retailers to use its payment system for mainland consumers.

Hong Kong retailers I.T. Ltd. (00999.HK) and Sa Sa International Holdings Ltd. (00178.HK) are among Sina’s new target vendors.

“We are hoping that there will be more Hong Kong enterprises taking part in our schemes beginning next year,” Ghafur said.

To improve O2O transactions, mainland customers will be given coupons to enable them to redeem their purchases from Hong Kong retailers during their visit to the city.

The number of Weibo users in Hong Kong has surpassed four million, up from two million in November 2011 and just a million in March 2011, according to earlier media reports. 

As of the end of the third quarter, the microblog has posted a revenue of US$84.10 million, up 58 percent from a year ago, while income from advertising and marketing was up 50 percent at US$65.40 million.

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Freelance journalist

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