Taipei, Feb. 23 (CNA) Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Weibo are changing the way companies, governments and the traditional media communicate, experts from online companies said Thursday.
"Social media will have great impact on business models in the future," Charles Chao, president and CEO of Sina Corp., said in a keynote speech titled "The Digital Economy -- A New Gold Mine" at the CommonWealth Economic Forum in Taipei.
"Social media accomplishes the ability of two-way communications, making it possible for everyone to create and share content,”he said. "I also for the first time enables enterprises to have conversations directly with consumers."
Sina launched Weibo in 2009, a major Chinese-language social network across China, Taiwan and Hong Kong that publishes 100 million messages per day.
The number of registered Weibo users jumped from 1 million in November 2009, to 80 million in 2010 and over 200 million last year, making it one of the most popular social networking websites in China.
Chao said business accounts on Weibo now total 100,000, and the number is expected to reach 1 million this year.
"Companies will be able to make and launch new products that will better meet consumers' demands, based on their opinions," Chao said.
He said social media is also changing the management of governments and the society. For example, many influential people have been expressing their opinions on public affairs on Weibo, making messaging in the society more "transparent and balanced," he said.
Rose Tsou, senior vice president for the Asia-Pacific region at Yahoo Inc., agreed with Chao's views, saying that social networking websites have reshaped the one-way communication in the traditional media and changed the channels of dialogue between corporates and customers.
She said that over 7 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China have set up wholesale storefronts on Alibaba.com, while some 10,000 SMEs in Taiwan have opened online stores to have deeper interaction with consumers.
Such online stores could save 40 percent of costs and increase margins by 15 percent for these companies, according to Tsou.
(By Jeffrey Wu)