China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo files for $500M US IPO

The short-form messaging service is facing stiff competition in China

One of China's most popular social media services, Sina Weibo, filed papers on Friday for an initial public offering in the U.S. with the target of raising US$500 million.

The service, often likened to China's version of Twitter for its 140-character posts, is popular in the world's most populous country and attracted 129 million users per month at the end of 2013, but there are signs of slowing user growth.

In a conference call last month, Sina CEO Charles Chao conceded that competition is tough, with about 20 similar services operating. One of the biggest competitors to Weibo is China-based WeChat, which, like Weibo, claims about 300 million registered users.

Like Twitter, which listed its stock last year, Weibo is pushing mobile. The company already sees about 70 percent of its use from mobile devices, and mobile contributes about 28 percent to the company's advertising revenue, the company said.

Weibo recorded revenue of $188 million last year, of which about 79 percent came from advertising. A further 12 percent came from game services and 6 percent from the sale of premium memberships. The company isn't yet profitable, but its net loss of $38 million last year was much improved from the $102 million net loss in 2012, according to the company.

The U.S. IPO will be handled by Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. The filing, which was published by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, does not list a proposed IPO date or share price. Those are usually determined much closer to the actual IPO.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Designing for a cashless society

More movement has been made toward a cashless society recently, and already we are starting to see enormous implications across our society.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Setting advertising objectives for financial performance

I’ll often be talking to clients and at some point say, ‘the most important thing is justifying price’. Then moments later, ‘the most important thing is increasing the size of your customer base’.

Kyle Ross

Strategist, TRP

5 common mistakes to avoid in scalable customer experience

CX is about future-proofing your business by ensuring that your commercial model is always looped into your customers' needs, perceptions, values, beliefs, motivators, and detractors.

Tom Uhlhorn

Founder and strategy director, Tiny CX

Thanks for writing about chatbots. Definitely bots have the exciting future when it comes to customer engagement, transactional and conve...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

Australian Open chalks up strong ticket sales with chatbot

Read more

Hello, where are the explanations of all the levels explained? I'd like to review this with a couple of colleagues. Thanks.

Melinda Gonzalez

CMO launches CMO CX, debuts customer experience maturity assessment

Read more

A great and accurate commentary - today we rarely get true personalisation. On web journeys cookies or logins remember who we are, what w...

Ian Moyse

Salesforce: Personalisation is a long way off what consumers now expect

Read more

Very nice information !! We provide almost every indian satta matka games with fast results. Online Matka play becomes easy with genuine ...

rsgame

Image intelligence:10 must-see infographics for marketers

Read more

One of the best example for email marketing!!This post has completely explained the power of email marketing and how it is beneficial to...

Abhinav Mohan

How email marketing automation is helping this Aussie electrical wholesaler enter the digital age

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in