Sina Weibo: 'China's Twitter' to list in the US

Weibo logo Internet users have regularly tapped into Weibo to share unfiltered information

Related Stories

China's largest Twitter-like service Weibo has unveiled plans to sell shares on the US stock market.

Weibo, owned by Chinese internet giant Sina, is looking to raise $500m (£300m) via the share sale.

However, the firm did not give details of the number of shares it plans to sell or the price range.

According to papers filed with the US regulators, it had 129.1 million monthly active users in December and generated revenues of $188m in 2013.

"A microcosm of Chinese society, Weibo has attracted a wide range of users, including ordinary people, celebrities and other public figures, as well as organisations such as media outlets, businesses, government agencies and charities," the firm said in its filing.

Booming market

Start Quote

We expect our advertising and marketing revenues to increase in the foreseeable future”

End Quote Weibo

China's internet market has grown to become the world's biggest with more than 500 million users.

With major global social networking firms such as Facebook and Twitter blocked in the country, domestic companies have benefitted the most from this growth.

The popularity of services such as Weibo has also been driven in part by the fact that they gave users a platform to share unfiltered information.

As more people have got on the social media bandwagon, revenues at firms operating these services have also risen.

Weibo said its revenues nearly tripled in 2013 from a year earlier, as more companies advertised on the platform in an attempt to attract perspective customers.

The firm said it expects the trend to continue.

"We expect our advertising and marketing revenues to increase in the foreseeable future as we continue to introduce new advertising and marketing solutions and attract more customers," it said.

Slowdown concerns

However, the growing popularity of social media platforms has also attracted the attention of authorities who have moved swiftly to silence voices online.

A law has been introduced to allow the Chinese government to jail microbloggers and dozens were arrested last year. That has seen many users ditch the platforms in favour of mobile messaging services.

A report published last month indicated that the number of Weibo users declined steeply in 2013.

The China Internet Network Information Center said in its annual report that almost 28 million people abandoned Weibo last year.

The fall marked the site's first drop in usage amid a government crackdown on so-called 'rumour mongers' online.

That has triggered some concerns over whether firms such as Weibo will be able to sustain the rapid pace of growth seen in recent years.

The firm itself has highlighted the area as a potential risk.

"If people do not perceive content and other products and services on our platform to be interesting and useful, we may not be able to attract users or increase the frequency of their engagement," it said.

"A number of user-oriented websites that achieved early popularity have since seen their user bases or levels of engagement decline, in some cases precipitously."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    MARKET UPDATE 09:07:

    European markets are lower ahead of a US jobs report due out later today, which is expected to show 230,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, a decline from the previous month's 280,000. The biggest riser on the FTSE 100 is British Airways and Iberia Airlines owner IAG - up 2.3% to 338.40p - after it swung back into profit in the first half of this year.

    • The FTSE 100 is lower by 0.72% to 6681.69
    • The Dax is down 0.81% to 9330.89
    • The Cac-40 has fallen 0.72% to 4215.46
     
  2.  
    RBS PROFITS 08:52:
    A woman walking past the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland

    Royal Bank of Scotland has released its profits for the first half of 2014 in what can only be described as a quirk of officialdom. The bank was originally planning to publish its results today, but having discovered how good they were got really excited and released them a week early. So it appears there is nothing new to see here.

     
  3.  
    WILLIAM HILL 08:34:
    Betting slip

    William Hill - the high street and online betting chain says "record-breaking World Cup wagering drives second quarter operating profit growth" - but pre-tax profit was down 15% at £222m.

     
  4.  
    IAG SHARES 08:21:

    IAG shares are off to a strong start on the back of the results announcement. They're up 4%.

     
  5.  
    RENTOKIL INITIAL RESULTS 08:19:
    Horrible moth

    Rentokil is a whopping player in the pest control business. "Revenue growth was particularly strong in our Pest Control category," it reveals, "reflecting good growth... supported by improved organic performance and a number of pest control acquisitions." Growth through acquisitions; not scary. Improved organic performance? Does that mean there are more moths, rats, wasps and such for it to kill?

     
  6.  
    HEADLINES
  7.  
    IAG PROFITS 08:05:
    A British Airways Airbus A380

    Spanish cousin Iberia is becoming less of a drag on IAG's overall performance it seems. IAG says Iberia's restructuring continues to have "a positive impact". Last week Iberia agreed a deal with unions "on collective redundancies for pilots and ground staff" that could see a further 1,427 jobs axed. IAG says: "This will create new opportunities for Iberia to enhance its profitability further in the next two or three years."

     
  8.  
    RUSSIA SANCTIONS 07:51:
    Russia adidas shirt

    European companies say sanctions against Russia are already taking their toll, reports the Financial Times. Adidas shares dropped 15% after its profit warning yesterday - it's closing stores in Russia. Also seeing an impact are Volkswagen and Siemens.

     
  9.  
    DIRECT LINE RESULTS 07:41:
    Dog

    Direct Line is the largest motor insurance group in the country. It reports an 8% rise in six month profits to £225.1m. Brands include Churchill, Privilege and the Green Flag roadside recovery service.

     
  10.  
    IAG PROFITS 07:28: BBC Radio 4

    IAG boss Willie Walsh tells Today the airline group is "doing very well" and is on course to deliver its full year guidance. The conversation quickly turns to safety. British Airways and Iberia have been avoiding Ukrainian airspace since March, he says. "We don't look at the cost at all. It's simply a case that we look at whether it is safe to fly over an area or not," he adds. "We don't fly over Libya or Syria." But the airline judges that it is now safe to fly over Iraq.

     
  11.  
    IAG PROFITS

    British Airways and Iberia Airlines owner International Airlines Croup has swung into profit. It has reported pre-tax profits of 155m euros (£123m) for the last six months, compared with a loss of 177m euros a year earlier.

     
  12.  
    RENTOKIL INITIAL RESULTS 07:10:

    Office services business Rentokil Initial said its half year profits rose 38.9% to £66.8m.

     
  13.  
    US ECONOMY 06:59: Radio 5 live

    More from Terry Savage on the US economy. She says the US Federal Reserve policy of quantitative easing "has created all of this money... and all that money has not gone into, so far at least, good paying jobs or homebuilding. It's gone into the stock market and... made the rich a lot richer."

     
  14.  
    PORTUGAL BANK 06:47: BBC Radio 4
    Woman outside BES

    Bill Blain from Mint Partners tells Today Portugal's government has a tough decision to make on BES: "Does it bail it out as 'too big to fail', or does it stand back and let the bank sort itself out? Many want the debt holders to pay the cost of this."

     
  15.  
    TOUGH MUDDER 06:36:
    Man leaping

    The Today programme likes a natter with a company boss of a Friday morning. Today's is Will Dean from Tough Mudder. People pay him £100 to spend time on an obstacle course - jumping, swimming, crawling through mud and so forth. Why? "It's not a race its a challenge. It's about team work over 12 miles. Its a set of individual challenges to test you mentally and physically." Fine.

     
  16.  
    PORTUGAL BANK 06:28: BBC Radio 4

    Shares in Banco Espirito Santo lost 42% yesterday after the bank announced a loss of 3.6bn euros (£2.8bn). Bill Blain from chief strategist at Mint Partners tells Today this is "Deeply concerning for all bankers looking at Europe. It's [Europe] had 450bn of new capital to sort out the relationship between sovereign debt and the banks. What the Banco results show shows is the bank remained a piggy bank for the family".

     
  17.  
    US ECONOMY 06:15: Radio 5 live

    The US releases jobs data later today - GDP figures earlier this week showed the US economy growing strongly. Expectations are that another 230,000 jobs could have been added to the US economy in July and that the unemployment rate may - we'd stress the may here though - have fallen below 6%.

     
  18.  
    US ECONOMY 06:07: Radio 5 live

    US financial expert and businesswoman Terry Savage tells Wake Up to Money the US economic recovery is still difficult to read: "It's kind of a glass half full/half empty kind of thing. Different parts of the economy have picked up, particularly consumer spending on autos and other big items," she says. "It's not what we would call a booming economy . It's just so much better than what we have had for the last few years."

     
  19.  
    06:01: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    In a short while we'll have results from William Hill and British Airways owner IAG trading updates. And we'll have an eye on everything else that's going on. bizlive@bbc.co.uk @bbcbusiness.

     
  20.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning folks. So what's happened overnight? Well the World Trade Organisation has failed to agree a global customs deal.... again. But manufacturing in China grew at its fastest pace in more than two years in July, according to the latest figures.

     

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • A woman sits on a bed in a scene from Gustav Deutsch's latest film about Edward Hopper's paintingsTalking Movies Watch

    How film-maker Gustav Deutsch brought Edward Hopper’s paintings to life

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.