Baidu to shutdown Twitter-like service in late August

SHANGHAI Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:38am BST

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SHANGHAI Aug 10 (Reuters) - China's largest search engine Baidu Inc said on Wednesday it will shut down its Twitter-like microblogging platform, Shuoba, on Aug 22.

Kaiser Kuo, a Baidu spokesman, declined to give a reason for the closure but industry experts chalked up Shuoba's stringent real name verification features as the reason the service failed to gain much traction with China's netizens.

Shuoba competes with Sina's highly popular microblogging service Weibo which has over 140 million users.

"We have learnt quite a bit from it. It will be very useful for the development of our other products," said Kuo.

Baidu, which launched Shuoba late last year, will continue to develop social networking products, Kuo said.

The firm posted a notice on Shuoba's webiste (t.baidu.com) on Monday saying that due to business adjustments, Shuoba was shutting down and urged users to back up their personal data.

Although Twitter and Facebook are inaccessible in China, Chinese Internet companies have filled the void with similar microblogging and social networking products. (Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing Kazunori Takada)

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