Weibo messaging service revenue soars 43%

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 10:46

Beijing: Sina Corp`s revenue soared 43 percent in the fourth quarter, as its Weibo messaging service more than doubled advertising sales despite strong competition from Tencent Holdings Ltd`s WeChat.

Weibo, one of several Chinese Twitter-like services, increased ad revenue by 163 percent to $56 million in the final three months of 2013. Sina Weibo has hired investment banks for a $500 million U.S. IPO later this year, a source told Reuters on Monday.

Still, shares of the Chinese company dipped 1.4 percent after Sina`s overall results barely beat Wall Street`s expectations. Investors are accustomed to seeing the Chinese Internet company outpace its targets by wide margins.

Sina posted non-GAAP revenue of $192.3 million in the fourth quarter, barely surpassing an average forecast for $192.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It recorded a twofold increase in non-GAAP net income to $33 million or 47 cents per share, beating by just a penny the 46 cents that analysts expected.

And it forecast non-GAAP net revenue of between $162 million and $167 million this quarter, broadly in line with Wall Street`s expectations of about $165.2 million.

Chinese mobile messaging apps like Tencent`s WeChat, or Weixin, have become venues of choice for users who want to express views without fear of government retribution. Weibo, one of several Twitter-like short messaging services, plans a listing in the second quarter, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

"As we enter 2014, we will continue to focus on growing Weibo`s user base and user engagement through product innovation, as well as seizing opportunities to enable us for long-term growth," Sina Chief Executive Officer Charles Chao said in Monday`s results statement.

Its stock fell to $75.00 in after-hours trading on Monday, compared with a closing price of $76.08 on the Nasdaq.

First Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 10:46
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