WeChat might be the hottest landmark on China’s social media landscape these days, but the Twitter-esque Weibo is not yet out of sight. Indeed, it’s still growing in terms of its number of active users. The latest Weibo feature to keep people coming back to the app is called Weibo Radar. It helps users find nearby stores with coupons for discounts or special deals. One of its first partners is McDonalds.
Weibo Radar is a new, mobile-only feature in the latest update to Sina’s Weibo app (hat-tip to Bloomberg’s Edmund Lococo for spotting this).
The Weibo Radar feature is spread across three tabs – People, TV, and Surroundings. The coupons feature is (confusingly?) under the “Surroundings” tab.
Big business in little coupons
Using the Weibo Radar to find nearby people didn’t work for me, and the TV aspect of it (it listens to what’s playing on your TV to help you discuss the TV show on Weibo or to find out more details) also didn’t work when I tried it in front of a recent drama series.
But at least the coupons thing works. To redeem the deal – in my case, some kind of terrifying green ice concoction that claims to be coffee – and increase your waistline, show the QR code that pops up within Weibo to the McD server.
While it’s a useful feature, the very limited nature of the deals offered means that Weibo is not about to overturn the big business some startups are making out of aggregating fast food coupons into apps, such as Alibaba-backed DDCoupons. Alibaba also owns a stake in Weibo.