In WhatsApp's Wake: China's Weibo Considers U.S. IPO

Amid crackdowns by the Chinese government and decreasing popularity, China's Twitter-like social media site is considering a U.S. IPO.
Posted at 1:59 PM, Feb 25, 2014

China's Twitter-like service Weibo might be losing popularity, but that isn't stopping it from potentially going public in the U.S.

The social media site owned by Sina Corp. spent four years as China's most popular online forum but has recently lagged behind Tencent's instant-messaging app WeChat. (Via BBC)

Quartz reports although Weibo could be worth anywhere from $3.2 to $6 billion, Sina is seeking only $500 million in an initial public offering.

The move comes after Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of the mobile messaging app WhatsApp last week.

And earlier this month, Japan's e-commerce giant Rakuten's purchase of the Viber messaging app for $900 million.

The announcement of Weibo's possible IPO leaves many skeptical about its success.

As The Financial Times reports, competition from rivals and the Chinese government's crackdown on online rumors poses threats to the company.

The site has about 300 million registered users, but user growth on the site has been slowing down — with active users decreasing by as much as 70 percent in 2013. (Via YouTube / nokiadevforum)

According to The Telegraph, China has been arresting users who allegedly post fabricated or slanderous content online — leaving many turned off from using the site.

But PCWorld reports the site claims its user base decline is not due to the government crackdown, but rather due to its competition. Although it acknowledges a decline in user growth, it says the number of its daily active users is actually going up.

The company has not yet formally announced a public offering, but is expected to do so within the next few months.