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Weibo Loss Narrows as User Additions Boost Ad Revenue

Weibo Corp. reported a narrower second-quarter loss as user additions helped the Chinese microblogging service controlled by Sina Corp. to win more advertising sales.

The net loss was $15.4 million in the three months ended June 30 from a loss of $35.1 million a year earlier, the Beijing-based company said in a statement today. Sales more than doubled to $77.3 million, higher than Weibo’s forecast in May of sales of $74 million to $76 million.

Weibo, also backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said the number of daily active users increased 32 percent in the period from a year earlier. Chief Executive Officer Wang Gaofei is investing in marketing and product development to win users amid competition from Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat messaging application.

Weibo forecast sales of $79 million to $82 million in the third quarter, up from $53.4 million in the year earlier period. The projection compares with the $78.9 million average of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares of Weibo rose 5.6 percent to close at $21.46 in New York, before the results were announced. The stock has gained 26 percent from the $17 a share price in April’s initial public offering.

Weibo, which sold $286 million of shares in the IPO, operates a social media website similar to Twitter Inc.’s that allows users to post short messages. Twitter’s service is blocked in China by government censors.

The daily active users of Weibo rose to 69.7 million at the end of June, the company said.

Sina remains the controlling shareholder of Weibo after the IPO, holding 54 percent of outstanding shares on a fully diluted basis, while Alibaba owns 30 percent, the company said in May.

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