Financial News

  • 18 April 2014, 9:10

Weibo Woes Amid Disappointing Nasdaq Flotation

The cloud over tech stocks has dampened expectations for Weibo - China's version of Twitter - which has begun trading on the Nasdaq in New York today.

The share flotation was priced at the lower end of its range last night, and there are reports that the issue was under-subscribed.

Shares begun trading at $17 (10).

So far just over 16 million shares have been sold - raising $285.6m (170m). The value of the micro-blogging site is now estimated to be around $3.5m (2.1m).

That is 15% down on the $340m (200m) the company had been aiming for, with a target sale of 20 million shares.

In March, Weibo had estimated the value of its initial public offering (IPO) at up to $500m.

The site was launched in August 2009 to provide services similar to Twitter, which is banned in China.

It is the leading social media site in the world's most populous country and China has around 618 million internet users.

Weibo has come under scrutiny about its user-base growth and rising competition.

Tencent's WeChat is a major rival which offers an instant messaging platform that allows users to send text, photos, videos and voice messages over mobile devices.

Weibo's climb has also been slowed by a media crackdown by Beijing, which tightly controls online activity to thwart internal dissent.

The soft Nasdaq launch for Weibo continues the tech stock slide for major internet firms.

Concerns have been raised that companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Netflix are overpriced.

It has also hit the latest IPOs in the US.

All five companies that went public in New York on Monday and Tuesday saw their shares start at lower-than-forecast figures.

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