As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's true, Twitter and Tumblr should be very flattered by the Chinese copycat sites Sina Weibo and DianDian, which have plucked ideas and designs from the microblogging networks. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Sina Weibo has eclipsed Twitter as China's leading microblogging site
. Mirae Asset Securities estimates that about 87-percent of the microblogging done by China's 450 million Internet users is with Sina Weibo. Just like "tweet" is now a verb in English, "zhi weibo" is being used as a verb by the Chinese. CEO Charles Chao makes no bones about the inspiration for the site, which also caps users' posts at 140 characters. "We learned much from Twitter," he said. DianDian, on the other hand, didn't really "learn" from Tumblr; it straight-up swiped the site's dashboard layout and color scheme. According to The Next Web Asia, DianDian is currently in private beta testing
, and there's no word yet on when it will go public.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the emergence of Twitter and Tumblr's Chinese counterparts will be how these sites censor users' posts, as required by the government. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof already had his Sina Weibo account deleted for posts referring to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, so don't expect a free-speech movement to be born on DianDian, either.