China's TechWeb, relying on informed but unnamed sources, is reporting that SINA's Weibo will be rolling out an English-based site for the U.S. market this summer.
Typically described as China's Twitter, Weibo is a closer fit to Tumblr, with greater interaction and fewer limitations on the multimedia content being shared.
Weibo's growth in China has been impressive. Since its launch two years ago, its ability to land prolific Chinese celebrities has created the kind of viral growth that every online upstart covets.
Weibo reportedly has 140 million registered users, with a target of 200 million by year's end. Its 100 most popular users have amassed 314 million cumulative fans, according to a Credit Suisse research note cited in TechWeb's report.
As far as social websites go, Weibo isn't as large as Twitter or Facebook, but it does command a larger audience than the recently public LinkedIn
Will stateside users warm up to a Chinese site? If it's as restrictive as China's own social sites, an English-language Weibo is toast. American companies haven't fared well in China, either, and the same kind of reaction is possible the other way around, since everyone likes to cheer on the local favorites. Case in point: Google
Aside from Skype, there aren't too many hot sites in this country that were birthed overseas. We seem to prefer our sites to launch out of California garages or Harvard dorms.
That doesn't mean Weibo is destined to fail here, but it is going to face a long uphill climb toward any kind of relevance.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a fan of China's high-margin online stocks for a long time. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.