Sina Says It Expects More Weibo Ad Revenue as Customers Double

Sina Corp. (SINA) said it expects sales from Weibo, the Twitter-like site it operates in China, to rise in the second half as the number of advertisers jumps.

Weibo had about 80 advertising customers in the second- quarter and the number will “probably double” in the second six months of this year, Chief Executive Officer Charles Chao said in a conference call today. Weibo contributed about 10 percent of revenue in the second quarter, he said.

The operator of China’s most-popular microblogging site also said it plans to introduce a new version of the service by the end of the current quarter. Sina started selling advertising in April on Weibo, while the country’s economic slowdown weakened growth in ad sales on its online portal.

Advertising revenue in the third-quarter may rise as much as 21 percent to $122 million, said in a statement yesterday. The growth represents an acceleration and was helped by Olympics-related promotions by clients, Chao said.

Sina fell 1.3 percent to $50.90 in New York trading yesterday before the results announcement. The stock has declined 2.1 percent this year, compared with a 54 percent gain for the Hong Kong-traded shares of Tencent Holdings Ltd., (700) which offers a rival microblogging service in China.

Net income tripled to $33.2 million in the second quarter from $10 million a year earlier, Shanghai-based Sina said. The company was expected to post a loss of $3.9 million, the average of 11 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Profit included a $45.3 million gain from Sina’s investment in China Real Estate Information Corp., it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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