You dialed up a company’s telephone number and said you have a potential cooperation opportunity with them, however the receptionist simply told you either “We are not interested in it” or “We only transfer calls based on our staff name, not by business purpose”. So when cold calling or cold emailing stops you there, what would you do? Me, I figure out to do cold socializing on Sina Weibo (China’s Twitter).

I am not a sale person but sometimes I do need to do a bit networking activity to approach local Chinese companies, often start from scratch, no remote acquaintance, no third party introduction. All I have for my targeted company is just an email address or telephone number from its corporate website right from the internet.

Quite often I got hung up by the receptionist immediately like above scenario. Sometimes even worse; a company does not even provide a phone number on its website and my well composed email was more likely buried into silence.

They say your first career experience leaves indelible imprint in your life. Way back as an intern news reporter, I learned the trick that, if I am prohibited to go straight into the front door, then try to worm myself into the back door. Unless every solution has been exhausted, never act like a defeatist.

Hence when phone call is blocked or just non-existent, I would start to scout those personal accounts on Sina Weibo with profiles claiming working for my targeted company. The rule of thumb is people who publicize about their career on Sina Weibo tend to be very open-minded about business inquiry, including those high executives.

Perhaps there was the factor of good luck, at least 3 times in a hopeless situation, I was able to find the right candidates, sent them my private messages and eventually they all responded in a nice way. It is as if like the old days, you caught up your client in the elevator and said to him “I just need you one minute to listen to my business idea”. Though sometimes you would not end up with successful results, you at least get a precious chance to speak up, of course not in the elevator, but via Sina Weibo.

Debates or discussions surrounding Tencent’s WeChat and Sina’s Weibo have heated or piled up in China now days, some said popularity of Sina Weibo is waning down; other said Wechat is stealing thunder from Sina Weibo. These statements are all correct. But remember, at least based on my personal experience, BSNS on Sina Weiob is very useful which Wechat has not been able to offer at this moment. Apart from that, I still enjoy reading news on Sina Weibo, NOT Wechat.

As for Linkedin, well, again and again I announce this little thing does not really work like a charm to find or connect with local Chinese professionals who work for a domestic company. Even Linkedin clones in China, for instance Tianji, Dajie fail to gain solid traction. Many formal reasons provided are: need more time to develop; C level executives in China are not digital savvy; business connections in China heavily reply on nepotism or “word of mouth”. All I agreed.

Sina Weibo is already playing up its role as BSNS, i.e. launched something called WeiRenMai in 2012. I truly wish Sina Weibo would maintain such vitality; otherwise what else can I turn to if there in no way to find the right contact and make a phone call?



By Cécilia Wu
English & Chinese Editorial Manager