Social Networking Stats: Sina Weibo Tops 300 Million Users, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard:  Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: over 845 million users via Facebook
Twitter: over 500 million users via Twopcharts
Qzone: 500 million active users via China Internet Watch
Sina Weibo: over 300 million users via Bloomberg Businessweek
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
LinkedIn: 150 million members via LinkedIn
Google Plus: over 90 million users via Larry Page
Tumblr: 50 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 27 million users via TechCrunch
Tagged: 20 million active users via The Wall Street Journal
Foursquare: 15 million users via Mashable
Pinterest: 11.7 million unique monthly users via TechCrunch
Posterous: 3.9 million members via SF Gate

Please email if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.

Chinese Microblogging Site Sina Weibo Tops 300 Million Users

China's Sina Weibo micro-blogging service has 300 million usersChina’s Sina Weibo microblogging platform – a Twitter-like service – has more than 300 million users, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. This number represents total registrations for the site; it does not reflect the active user numbers for the service. However, The Next Web speculates that Sina Weibo has more active daily users than competitor Tencent, “as [Weibo] has grown into the overwhelming popular choice for microbloggers in the country.”

Of course, both Chinese microblogging services have “large numbers of fake ‘zombie’ users” which “cloud the accuracy” of their user numbers.  The Wall Street Journal also mentioned the “mystery of Chinese Internet statistics” and a “lack of reliable numbers” in an article about Renren, often called “The Facebook of China.”

But Sina Weibo is subject to government supervision (as are the other social networking and microblogging sites in China), as evidenced by a 72-hour suspension of commenting on the site that began on March 31st.

While a statement on Sina Weibo claimed the suspension was due to a need to “clear up rumors and illegal information,” it is widely understood to be part of a wider crackdown on Internet-related crimes in China that began in mid-February.  A similar message could be found when users tried to log onto another major micro-blogging site in China, run by Tencent.

According to New York-based analyst Echo He, Sina’s share price will be weighed down by “the prospect of further government-ordered shutdowns.”  What about the site’s growth in China?  Will government regulation and potential shutdowns turn users and advertisers away, or is it simply a routine risk in a country where the internet is heavily monitored?

Qi Guo, a San Francisco-based analyst at ThinkEquity Partners LLC, told Bloomberg Businessweek that “comment functionality is key to Weibo user engagement.”  If the government continues to threaten that key functionality, there could be negative consequences for Weibo’s share price, ad sales, and user numbers.