Sina’s latest earnings report show that the leading Chinese online portal site’s net revenue increased 6% year over year to US$106.2 million whereas its loss reached US$13.7 million.

“Our brand advertising business got off to a relatively slow start in the first quarter due to the softening of macroeconomic conditions in China,” said Charles Cao, CEO of Sina. He also added that the company had decided to start Weibo brand advertising, which was powered by a social interest graph recommendation engine and Sina expected that this test trial would impact on the advertising business in the second quarter.

Charles revealed in the conference call for its Q1 results that so far they had signed up about 50 clients on Weibo advertising and they were looking forward to more opportunities to explore the platform. Sina Weibo claimed 30m new users in the first quarter, but did not mention how many are active users.

As to the actual investment SINA had put into its social network, the number rose from US$ 110m -120m of last year to 160m this year. As to SINA, most are used for recruitment and facilities.

The piece was written by Charlie Sheng, a nerd born in the 90s with interests in tech, innovation and art.