Ladies of China Rejoice: Ryan Lochte Is On Weibo

American Athletes Tend Weibo Accounts to Connect With Chinese Fans

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P&G Gilette
P&G Gilette

Ryan Lochte might only be available for one-night stands but he's making himself totally accessible on social media -- even in China, where Twitter is blocked.

The Olympic swimmer shares his chiseled torso and "Jeah" hashtag with Chinese fans on his Sino Weibo account, http://weibo.com/ryanlochte.

While Twitter is unavailable to the Chinese, Twitter-like platforms from Sina and competitor Tencent boast a combined 600 million-plus accounts. Weibo is the darling of digital marketing in China, with brands seeking to connect with the massive and highly engaged user base.

Mr. Lochte appears to be among the first waves of foreign athletes reaching out to Chinese fans on Weibo, boosting his attractiveness to potential sponsors trying to make inroads in that still-developing consumer market.

His Weibo account has about 71,000 fans, though it looks like he forgot to update from London. His latest post was on June 26: "I made the Olympic team tonight winning the 400im. It was a great night!"

Mr. Lochte's agent did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

His better-known teammate Michael Phelps has about 408,000 fans on his Sina Weibo account. It appears Mr. Phelps has some help maintaining his microblog, with posts appearing in both English and Chinese.

Not surprisingly, the sport with the most number of athletes on Weibo is basketball, which is wildly popular in China.

According to analysis conducted for Ad Age by China-based social-media intelligence and analysis agency CIC, at least 60 NBA players have Weibo accounts. Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul are the most-popular foreign athletes, with about 1.6 million fans each. (Chinese-American baller Jeremy Lin has 2.9 million fans.)

Other Western athletes with Weibo accounts include:

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