The Chinese market is a notoriously hard to enter one, especially when it comes to web companies. There are plenty of reasons for this, but the end result is that there are a lot of internal players battling for the huge market. But the isolation goes both ways, outside companies can't get in, Chinese websites serve China alone.
Things are slowly changing though and if rumors of the Sina Weibo social network / microblogging service launching an international version in English come true, we may see the biggest web export from China to date.
According to the Chinese tech site, TechWeb, Sina Weibo plans to go international within the next two or three months. The site cites people close to the matter, but this is the only source to make the claim, so make what you will of it.
Weibo was launched less than a couple of yeas ago to fill the void that Twitter's blocking in China left. The service grew quickly in the market that is starved for platforms of communications.
Weibo now boasts some 140 million users in China, a very impressive figure, even if there are hundreds of millions of internet users in the country. The figure is even more impressive considering that Twitter has just climbed over the 200 million users mark.
While the US site is growing quite fast, especially in new markets, it seems like everything its doing is dwarfed by what its most successful Chinese clone is doing, considering that Twitter is available in most of the world, of course, except for China.
Weibo is not a cash making machine, in fact, it's only starting to make money this year and future projections are optimistic but not huge. While the Chinese market is huge, it still a developing one and the revenues of even the most popular web companies in the country are far less impressive than what a similar sized US company would make. Launching internationally could generate a nice revenue boost.