World leaders join Weibo
Updated: 2014-04-10 01:55
BEIJING - Visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres is busy these days, not only meeting Chinese leaders, but posting pictures and chatting on Weibo, China's most popular social network.
Peres in only one of many world leaders to join Weibo. According to Internet firm Sina, which runs the service, some 200 world leaders have joined, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-general of the United Nations.
There are also some 300 international organizations with accounts, including the United Nations, which has 587,000 followers and the International Olympic Committee, which has an astonishing 21 million followers.
Though it is hard to tell whether these world leaders are actually using their own personal thumbs, and the interval between posts can sometimes be very long, Chinese netizens know them and their nations better through such online communication.
Before coming to China, Peres said on Weibo that he looked forward to answering his Chinese followers' questions. In subsequent days, the number of Peres' followers on Weibo has been on the rise and by Wednesday, he had attracted more than 123,000.
These leaders have to face difficult questions sometimes. David Cameron admitted on Weibo that he can do nothing about the production of Sherlock, a hugely popular British drama in China and President Peres has been asked about easing Israeli visa applications for Chinese people.
Weibo filed for a US stock offering in March, seeking to raise $500 million. According to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, it said "Weibo has become a cultural phenomenon in China" and it "allows people to be heard publicly and exposed to the rich ideas, cultures and experiences of the broader world."