Chinese web portal Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) has released its third quarter financials and revealed that its top social hit, the Twitter-esque Sina Weibo, has now surpassed 400 million registered users. Chairman and CEO Charles Chao credited the summer’s biggest sporting event for the boost: “The London 2012 Olympic Games could very well be termed in China as the ‘social’ Olympics, pushing Weibo.com’s daily active users to a new record.” Last quarter, Sina did say that Weibo had 36.5 million average daily active users, but this time there were no specifics on this.
Aside from that bit of excitement, it’s still clear that Weibo is not helping Sina bring in much in the way of profit. On net revenues for this quarter of $152.4 million, Sina saw net income of $9.9 million. On the plus side, non-GAAP net revenues of $147.7 million (up 18 percent on same time last year) were at the top end of analysts’ expectations.
But Sina predicts lower non-GAAP net revenues for Q4 of “between $132 million and $136 million.” On the markets on Thursday, $SINA fell sharply in the morning after seeing these financials, before recovering to be up slightly in the day’s trading. It now stands at $53.10 per share.
I really wonder how much censorship costs Sina, and how they manage to bury it in their financial reports. As China’s top social media service, it’s under huge pressure from authorities to implement all the same monitoring and censorship as any media company – but Sina must do it in real-time with tens of millions (or sometimes hundreds of millions) of daily active users.