Sina has no immediate plan to list microblog operations: CEO

By @ibtimes on

Sina Corp, China's largest Internet portal, has no immediate plans to list its microblog operations, its chief said on Wednesday.

Sina, which operates China's top Internet portal and the highly popular Twitter-like Weibo messaging service, will diversify into e-commerce and online games next year, Charles Chao told an industry conference in Beijing.

Chao said the reason for restructuring Weibo recently was that it was a new business model that needed space to grow.

Eventually we will make money from it, I have full confidence...our priority is to build up the platform, he said.

Sina had previously said it expects Weibo will start generating revenue in the first half of 2011 by selling virtual items and advertising space.

Sina competes with Tencent Holdings and Oak Pacific Interactive in the social networking space.

Tencent Holdings Ltd told Reuters this month it expects an increase in microblog subscribers to 200-300 million by the end of the year from 160 million now as social networking services gain popularity in the country.

Local media reported recently that Facebook may be in talks with Baidu Inc to launch a China social networking site. Baidu declined to comment while Facebook said it is evaluating its China options.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Writing by Soo Ai Peng; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Ken Wills)

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