Feb 19 Sina Corp posted
better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and profit amid
concerns about the slowing growth of Chinese online advertising.
Shares in the company, which runs China's largest online
portal and the Twitter-like "Weibo" microblogging platform,
climbed 6 percent to $56.50 after-hours. They have fallen 13.4
percent since the start of the fourth quarter, underperforming a
2 percent rise in the Nasdaq.
Net profit fell 74 percent in the fourth quarter to $2.4
million, or 3 cents per share, from $9.3 million, or 14 cents
per share, a year earlier. But excluding certain items, non-GAAP
earnings were $9 million, or 13 cents a share, versus $14
million or 21 cents a share a year earlier.
That surpassed an average forecast for 5 cents a share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
China's online advertising market grew 46.8 percent in 2012,
but that was down from 57.6 percent in 2011, according to
technology research firm iResearch. The softer advertising
market, due to a weaker economic environment, has also hit Sina
peers Baidu Inc and Sohu.com Inc.
Analysts say Sina's new "Weibo" advertising products have
drawn muted sales.
Sina said it expects first-quarter adjusted net revenue to
range between $115 million and $119 million, in line with
average predictions on Wall Street for about $117 million. It
forecast advertising revenue of $94 million to $96 million this
Advertising revenue came in at $110.7 million in the fourth
quarter, versus a previous company projection for between $110
million and $112 million.
It posted overall fourth-quarter net revenue of $139.1
million, versus an average forecast for $133.9 million according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Non-advertising revenue decreased 4
percent to $28.5 million.
In the fourth quarter, Sina rolled out two Weibo
monetization products aimed at increasing sales on its highly
popular social media website.
One of the products gives advertisers a chance at promoting
their tweet among users who are not following them, while the
other is a platform that links popular microbloggers with
Sina's push to monetize Weibo comes as Tencent Holdings'
mobile social messaging product, WeChat, is beginning
to cut into the popularity of Weibo, analysts said.