On Thursday, a document released by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) showed that leading Chinese microblogging platform Weibo had passed its listing hearing, with Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, CLSA and CICC acting as co-sponsors.
Weibo has not yet disclosed the precise level of funds it expects to raise in its Hong Kong IPO, but said that the money will be mainly used to continuously expand its user base and enhance user experience, as well as to improve the content ecosystem of the platform. The company also plans to invest in R&D to increase liquidity, selectively seek strategic cooperation, investments and acquisitions, and apply the funds for general company operations.
According to the latest financial report of the third quarter of 2021, Weibo’s user data and business income both showed continuous growth. During the period, the company’s revenue reached $607 million, up 30% year-on-year. In September 2021, the number of monthly active users (MAU) reached 573 million, while the proportion from the Weibo mobile app reached 94%. The number of daily active users reached 248 million.
As China’s leading social media platform, Weibo’s revenue has continued to grow in recent years. From 2016 to 2020, the platform’s revenue increased at a compound annual growth rate of 26.7%, and its operating profit rate increased from 21.5% in 2016 to 30.0% in 2020. According to the latest disclosed data, the unaudited revenue of Weibo in the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was about $1.6 billion.
The financial report also shows that, in June 2021, Weibo had 46 sectors such as key opinion leaders (KOLs), famous stars, and fashion and beauty content, among which 28 sectors’ monthly page views exceeded 10 billion in June 2021. In the same month, there were 41.9 million monthly active content creators operating on Weibo, and 2.3 million leading content creators.
In addition, Weibo enhanced its cooperation with game manufacturers, e-sports events, streaming KOLs, and increased investment in e-sports teams. According to the conference call for the third quarterly report in 2021, Weibo actively invested and set up several teams, and organized a series of e-sports events, covering most popular games and elevating the commercialization of the game industry.
In terms of ownership structure, the directors and senior managers of Weibo hold 1.2%, Sina holds 44.4% (voting rights 70.6%), Alibaba holds 29.6% (voting rights 15.7%) and other shareholders hold 24.8%.
Weibo disclosed in the report that net revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 is expected to increase by 15% to 20% year-on-year at a fixed exchange rate.