China's Sina to launch online payment system in April: Paper

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's Sina Corp will launch its own online payment service WeiboPay in April to help make money from its widely used microblogging platform, the official China Daily reported on Friday, quoting a company executive.

The e-payment service will allow microblogging users or Weibo users to buy items off the platform, by teaming up with merchants who want to sell products through their corporate microblogs, Mr Hong Lizhou, general manager of Weibo's marketing strategy, told the newspaper.

Launched in late 2009, Sina's Weibo has over 500 million users to date. The company, which also runs China's largest online Internet portal, has searched for ways to balance users'needs with making money off the platform.

Sina's Weibo is one of China's top social-networking platforms with celebrities and politicians blogging on it.

Facebook Inc and Twitter are blocked in China.

WeiboPay will compete with Alibaba Group's affiliated company, Alipay, which has the lion's share of the e-payments market.

Mr Hong said users who want to purchase items off Weibo do not necessarily have to use WeiboPay and that they could other options such as credit cards or Alipay, according to the report.

A Sina spokesman could not be reached for comment.

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