Flipboard gets new competition in China – from its partner, microblogging giant Sina

Flipboard gets new competition in China – from its partner, microblogging giant Sina

Not content with being one of Flipboard’s local partners in China, Sina has launched Sina View, its own service to compete with the hugely popular social aggregating app.

The service is built for iPad and includes a number of Flipboard-like functions and a very similar layout to the blockbuster app. The folks at Flipboard may be surprised to learn about the new service, as just last week representatives from the two companies were holding joint meetings in China.

Flipboard brought its service to iPhone users in China last month, in a move that also saw Chinese content made available worldwide. However despite those gains, Sina’s reputation and visibility in the country’s Web space is likely to provide strong competition.

The company — which is behind Sina Weibo, China’s most popular Twitter-like service with more than 250 million users — has a number of other services that ‘plug into’ its microblogging site, but this one is different.

Though its add-ons and services, which including games, video and more, are not all success stories, the closeness of social aggregators and microblogs gives Sina View serious potential; can you imagine the threat Twitter would pose if it bought or built a Flipboard rival?

Sina has already provided Weibo support to Flipboard, allowing users to share content to the Weibo microblogging service, but Sina View includes closer integration; such as an option to follow Weibo users direct from the app, and view other user’s RSS feeds.

The guys at Tech Rice put Sina View through its paces and weren’t immediately impressed by the intertwining of Weibo features but, there is no doubt, that it makes for a more social experience. That, coupled with Sina’s strong brand, is likely to make it appealing to Chinese Internet users.

This isn’t the first time that a partner has turned competitor in China, as Tencent launched its own group buying service right after it partnered with Groupon for its disastrous Gaopeng operation.

Flipboard is aiming to reach 5 million downloads in China with the local version of its app but, with now Sina amongst the competition, it is certainly going to have its work cut-out if it is to top the pile.

A very unFlipboard-like move to embrace Android could be a tactic that pushes one service ahead of the others, as it is estimated that the number of Android devices is more than double the iPhone in China.

➤ Sina View (Chinese-only)

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