Weibo revenue doubles as ad sales jump

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Weibo1 Reuters The logo of Sina Corporation's microblog, Weibo, is seen on the screen of a smartphone in Beijing, China.

Weibo, the company behind China's biggest microblog by users, reported second-quarter revenue above analysts' expectations, helped by a surge in advertising sales.

The company, majority owned by Chinese internet firm Sina Corp, forecast third-quarter revenue between $79 million (R835 million) and $82 million.

Analysts on average were expecting third-quarter revenue at $80.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Weibo, which made its listing debut in the United States in April, said advertising and marketing revenue nearly doubled to $59.6 million in the second quarter ended June 30.

But growth in daily active users for the Twitter-like messaging service slowed during the three months to 32 percent from 37 percent in the preceding quarter.

Weibo, in which China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba also has a stake, ended the quarter with 69.7 million daily active users.

The microblogging company has come under pressure as China stepped up its censorship of the internet over the past year.

This has dealt a heavy blow to microblogs like Weibo where open debate about political issues can land a user in jail.

Net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed to $15.4 million, or 8 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $35.1 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 3 cents per share, inline with expectations.

Revenue more than doubled to $77.3 million, above analysts' average estimate of $75.9 million.

Separately, Sina reported a 19 percent rise in net revenue on Weibo's strong performance and a 29 percent jump in advertising sales.

Weibo's shares were down 4.2 percent in after-market trading, after closing at $21.46 on the Nasdaq on Thursday. - Reuters

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