Weibo, Sina’s microblogging service, has announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2016. Its cooperation with Alibaba, the biggest contributor to its ad income and also its second largest shareholder, expired at the end of January. Without this significant income source, Weibo’s net revenue still increased 12.4% year over year (YoY).
According to its financial report, Weibo’s net revenue was USD 119.3 million, among which USD 11.1 million was from Alibaba’s last month of contribution. Without counting this portion, Weibo still saw a significant growth of 12.4% compared with a net revenue of USD 96.3 million in Q1 of fiscal 2015.
“Weibo had a strong first quarter with key accounts, SME advertising and marketing revenue together growing 97% YoY and total advertisers reaching 832,000, up 114% YoY,” said Wang Gaofei, Weibo’s CEO.
Its number of monthly active users (MAUs) in March 2016 grew 32% YoY to 261 million and its number of average daily active users (DAUs) in March 2016 grew 35% YoY to 120 million.
Launched in 2009, Weibo started to commercialize with ads, marketing and value-added services in 2012. It began to gain profit in Q4 2013, after inking a strategic collaboration agreement with Alibaba in April 2013. That year, Alibaba contributed as much as one third of Weibo’s ads and marketing revenue. Listed on NASDAQ in April 2014, Weibo Corp. earned USD 311 million from Alibaba in their 33 months of cooperation.
There have been rumors that Alibaba, which owns 30.5% of stock shares in Weibo Corp as of March, will acquire the company. Sina Corp, which holds 54.5% of the stock shares in Weibo, has denied this rumor in a speech by Sina’s CEO.
For fans of the social network, it is good to see that Weibo has enough momentum to grow its revenue without Alibaba, but the harsh truth is, without counting Alibaba’s contribution in January, Weibo would be at a net loss in Q1 2016, seeing as its costs and expenses totalled USD 112.1 million.
(Top photo from www.ime19.com)