DataSift Offers Access To Sina Weibo Data

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

Follow on: Google +

The new service lets European businesses get an insight into the mind of a Chinese consumer

British social analytics start-up DataSift has signed a partnership with Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social networks, in order to turn social information into intelligence on consumer behaviour.

Now, the company can supply its customers with a curated Chinese data feed that can be used to build custom applications or delivered directly to the marketing department.

DataSift is one of the very few companies that have complete access to the Twitter ‘Firehose’ – a full feed of all public tweets – for analytics purposes and Sina Weibo is essentially a Chinese version of Twitter, complete with a 140-character limit, mentions, hashtags and verified accounts. The new data source has been available to DataSift subscribers as part of Socialgist since Thursday.

Welcome to China

DataSift was founded by Nick Halstead, its current CTO, in 2007 as an offshoot from TweetMeme, the highly popular Twitter news feed service. The company focuses on producing state-of-the-art data-filtering technology and driving innovation in Big Data.

Meanwhile, Sina Weibo has more than 500 million users, or almost a third of the Chinese Internet population, posting more than 100 million messages a day. It has recently expanded beyond China to Singapore and Indonesia.

barbie-violin-soloistThe Chinese market is increasingly important for American and European brands, and the new DataSift service allows to study the opinions of Chinese consumers, which can be very different from those in the West.

A famous example occurred in 2011, when Mattel was forced to close its $30 million flagship House of Barbie in Shanghai because Chinese girls preferred the cute Hello Kitty brand to the glamorous image of an American doll. The company has since released a more subtle version of the Violin Soloist Barbie, designed to appeal to ‘tiger moms’ (pictured here).

“China is a high growth and strategic market for many companies, and the ability to better understand Chinese market dynamics, audiences and segments is a strategic priority for many of our customers,” said Rob Bailey, CEO of DataSift. “With our leading social data platform, customers can now leverage Sina Weibo data to enable better strategy development, build custom analytics and drive improved operational execution based on real time market data.”

Earlier this month, DataSift received $42 million in a funding round led by Insight Venture Partners, the original investors in Twitter and Tumblr.

What do you know about IT in China? Take our quiz!