February 25, 2014 — Published by: Anton Perreau
Sina Weibo prepares for IPO
Last week's news of WhatsApp's purchase for $19bn it seems other social networks are preparing to raise funding for their future. Next up is Sina Weibo - the Chinese social network which is planning to go IPO on the New York Stock exchange later this year with a valuation of up to $7bn - $8bn according to The Financial Times.
For some time the Battenhall team have been working on campaigns which focus on key Chinese social networks like Weibo and WeChat. The experience of Weibo is much like a mix between Facebook and Twitter, with insight into how much a post is liked, or even read by it's 'concerns' (followers). The social network, 71% owned by the Sina corporation is hoping to raise around $500m in the second quarter of 2014.
However, as The FT explains, this listing doesn't come at the best time for Weibo - active users of microblogs in China fell by a tenth between 2012 and 2013, according to a recent report by a government-affiliated research group, thanks to increased competition from WeChat, and government censorship. Censorship is rife in China, with the government omitting anything alluding to slightly liberal language, as well as enforcing strong rules that all members must sign up with their actual names - hidden behind branding of 'The Real Name Social Network'.
Sina Weibo's future has become the battle ground for a war between Alibaba and Tencent. The fate of Weibo rests on how that battle plays out and essentially how some of Weibo's key competitors are funded. We'll be keeping a close eye on the final valuation of Weibo, which no doubt has been increased by the recent acquisition of WhatsApp. To read more about this news head to The Wall Street Journal.