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Sina Weibo, 'China's Twitter,' files for IPO in US

NEW YORK -- Weibo Corp., the Chinese microblogging service often compared with Twitter, filed Friday for a U.S. stock offering seeking to raise US$500 million.

The move will allow the popular Chinese-language social network to spin off from the Internet giant Sina, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing said Weibo had 129.1 million monthly active users in December and 61.4 million average daily active users.

The company did not indicate whether Weibo would file its IPO on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange.

The lead underwriters will be Goldman Sachs Asia and Credit Suisse.

'A cultural phenomenon'

“A microcosm of Chinese society, Weibo has attracted a wide range of users, including ordinary people, celebrities and other public figures, as well as organizations such as media outlets, businesses, government agencies and charities,” the SEC filing said.

“Weibo has become a cultural phenomenon in China.

“Weibo allows people to be heard publicly and exposed to the rich ideas, cultures and experiences of the broader world,” it added.

“Media outlets use Weibo as a source of news and a distribution channel for their headline news. Government agencies and officials use Weibo as an official communication channel for disseminating timely information and gauging public opinion to improve public services.”

The filing said Weibo's initial public offering (IPO) will be part of a “carve-out from Sina,” but that Sina would “continue to provide us with certain support services” after it becomes independent.

“We will use approximately US$250 million of the net proceeds we receive from this offering to repay loans we owe to SINA,” the document read.

“We intend to use the remainder to invest in technology, infrastructure and product development, to expand sales and marketing efforts, and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.”

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