Portal Microblogs Go Back to Beta

Microblogs offered by the four major Chinese portal sites -- namely Sina's (Nasdaq:SINA) t.sina.com.cn, Sohu's (Nasdaq:SOHU) t.sohu.com and Tencent's (0700.HK) t.qq.com and NetEase's (Nasdaq:NTES) t.163.com -- have added "beta" signs to their respective homepages from July 12, Oriental Morning Post reported July 14. NetEase unexpectedly suspended its service as of the evening of July 13, citing system maintenance with no timeframe given, according to the report. Prior to that, Sohu's site temporarily shut down between July 9 and July 11, the report said. Sohu rejected rumors that the shutdown was linked to content in contravention of government requirements, the report said.

Microblogging sites became popular in China since August 2009, when Sina began testing its service, attracting 5 million followers by the end of the year, the report said.

Sohu and NetEase were said to be developing microblogs by December 2009, while Tencent began closed beta testing of its version of the service from February. Telecoms carrier China Mobile (NYSE:CHL, 0941.HK) claimed 15 million registered users of its microblog by December, and online games and entertainment company Shanda (Nasdaq:SNDA) started testing its product in June.