Sina reports fourth quarter and fiscal year 2012 financial results. From the top line numbers, it’s hard to tell the company, apart from the existing news portal, runs a social product with 500 million registered users, as the company claims, and a handful of advertising services. Its total revenue saw a mere 4% increase year-on-year in Q4 2012. That for the whole year only increased 10% year-over-year — 21% for the previous year even though Weibo didn’t make any money then.

Sina Weibo made USD 66 million, or 13% of the total revenues, in 2012. About two thirds was generated in the second half of the year after advertising products were launched and starting taking revenue cuts with its gaming platform. 77% of Weibo revenue is from advertising and 23% from value-added services such as membership fees and gaming revenue cuts.

The promoted-story advertising system, released in Q4 2012, is under testing and won’t be open to everyone until Q2 2013. The Micro-task ad system, a platform for advertisers to pay verified Weibo accounts to promote their content, isn’t meant to make much money, as its CEO Charles Chao put it on the latest earnings conference call. It’s no wonder that Weibo advertising revenue is mainly from brand advertisers, customers of Sina news portal’s, in the form of display ads.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com