China Welcomes Stephen Hawkins on Weibo
Chinese netizens have given a warm welcome to Prof Stephen Hawking after he joined microblog network Sina Weibo.
The British theoretical physicist amassed two million followers within hours of launching his account on Tuesday.
His first message was a greeting to his “friends in China” posted in both English and Chinese.
Some Weibo users were comparing the experience of interacting with Prof Hawking online to making contact with the universe. Many of the 200,000 comments he received on the post were welcoming, with people saying “Thank you for your contribution to mankind” and “I love you.”More than 230 million people use Sina Weibo, China’s biggest social media platform, every month.
A growing number of international figures have joined Weibo in recent years to connect to a Chinese audience.
Who’s who on Weibo?
- Other international figures who have gained a huge following on Weibo include British PM David Cameron, India PM Narendra Modi, US talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres and Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
- Unlike Twitter which it is often compared to, Weibo does not measure popularity solely on the number of followers – it has its own algorithms determining each person’s influence.
- Factors include how often a person is mentioned and searched, the level of his or her activity, and “likeability and enviability”.
- The current top figures on its celebrity chart for China are members of the popular teenage band TFBOYS, entertainer Lu Han, and actor Huang Jingyu.