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

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Hey there! Very interesting article, thank you for your input! I found particularly interesting the part where you mentioned that certain...

Martin Valovič

Companies don’t have policies to disrupt traditional business models: Forrester’s McQuivey

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

The biggest concern is the lack of awareness among marketers and the most important thing is the transparency and consent.

Joe Hawks

Data privacy 2021: What should be front and centre for the CMO right now

Read more

Thanks for giving these awesome suggestions. It's very in-depth and informative!sell property online

Joe Hawks

The new rules of Millennial marketing in 2021

Read more

In these tough times finding an earning opportunity that can be weaved into your lifestyle is hard. Doordash fits the bill nicely until y...

Fred Lawrence

DoorDash launches in Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Highlights of 2020 deliver necessity for Circular Economies

The lessons emerging from a year like 2020 are what make the highlights, not necessarily what we gained. One of these is renewed emphasis on sustainability, and by this, I mean complete circular sustainability.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Have customers really changed?

The past 12 months have been a confronting time for marketers, with each week seemingly bringing a new challenge. Some of the more notable impacts have been customer-centric, driven by shifting priorities, new consumption habits and expectation transfer.

Emilie Tan

Marketing strategist, Alpha Digital

Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

ABM has been the buzzword in digital marketing for a while now, but I feel many companies are yet to really harness its power. The most important elements of ABM are to: Identify the right accounts; listen to these tracked accounts; and hyper-personalise your content to these accounts to truly engage them. It’s this third step where most companies struggle.

Joana Inch

Co-founder and head of digital, Hat Media Australia

Sign in