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

More Videos

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Well, the conversion can be increased by just using marketing, but in general if you are considering an example with Magento, then it is ...

Bob

How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Read more

yo nice article

Bob

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

Blog Posts

9 lessons from 7 months of relentless failure

The most innovative organisations embrace failure. Why? Because it is often through failing the most creative out-of-box thinking happens. And with it comes vital learning opportunities that bring new knowledge and experience into teams.

Jacki James

Digital product lead, Starlight Children's Foundation

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

Sign in