Business / Gadgets

Sina Weibo files for $500m US IPO

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-03-15 15:19

Sina Weibo files for $500m US IPO
A Sina Weibo booth displays at a conference on September 24, 2013 in Beijing. [Photo / Image China]


Twitter-like messaging service Weibo Corp filed on March 14 to raise $500 million via a US initial public offering, as Chinese companies flock to the American market in record numbers to take advantage of soaring valuations.

Weibo, owned by Sina Corp, becomes the latest Chinese Internet giant to tap US markets, following on the heels of search service Baidu and its own corporate parent. Alibaba, which owns a stake in Weibo, is expected to raise about $15 billion in New York this year, in the highest-profile Internet IPO since Facebook's in 2012.

Weibo increased ad revenue by 163 percent to $56 million in the final three months of 2013. Overall revenues leapt almost three-fold to $188.3 million in 2013, from $65.9 million in 2012. And its net loss shrank to $38.1 million in 2013 from $102.5 million the previous year.

But its user growth is at risk of tailing off after three years of explosive expansion, as newer messaging apps such as Tencent Holdings Ltd's WeChat draw users away.

However, Weibo said the number of its daily users had risen 36 percent to 61.4 million as of the end of December, from the same time a year before.

Weibo hired Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to manage its US debut, which it said would boost brand recognition and help retain talent.

Its proposed $500 million target is an estimate worked out solely for the purposes of calculating registration fees.

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