Sina Weibo Planning for IPO, Says CTO

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Jack Xu, CTO of Sina, confirmed the latest rumor that Weibo, a Twitter-like service, was preparing for an IPO, according to a local newspaper Nandu (in Chinese).

Earlier this week, a journalist with Sohu IT broke the news that Sina had started preparing for a 2014 IPO, transferring employment contracts of Weibo staff who used to work at Sina’s news portal, the wireless service division or Sina’s music service division (has been merged into Weibo) to the company that operates Weibo.(in Chinese)

In 2010, Charles Chao, CEO of Sina, and Peng Shaobin, former head of Weibo, registered Micro-dream Creation Technology (Wei Meng Chuang Xin in Chinese), a separate company for Weibo. It is widely speculated that Weibo will go IPO as this company.

Jack Xu referred to Twitter’s filing for IPO as a positive factor for Weibo’s IPO plan, saying investors may doubt about the business model if there isn’t any service of this kind that ever goes public.

Sina Weio is four years old now. With more than 500 registered accounts, it has managed to make revenues from advertising, online gaming and other user-facing paid services. The new partnership with Alibaba has guaranteed that the company would receive at least a total of $380 million in the next three years by displaying e-commerce ads for retailers on Alibaba’s platform or helping them do campaigns on Weibo.

Sina introduced Jack Xu, former Corporate Vice President at Cisco, as CTO and Co-President in February this year to help the company who historically was with weak technological capabilities.