Sina Corp. (SINA:US), owner of China’s largest Twitter-like service, posted a first-quarter loss as an advertising slowdown damped revenue and the company spent more on developing mobile applications.
The net loss (SINA:US) narrowed to $13.2 million from $13.7 million a year earlier, the New York-listed company said in a statement today. That compares with the $5.6 million loss, the average of 10 analysts’ estimates (SINA:US) compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 19 percent to $126 million.
Sina has boosted spending on the development of apps as the more than 500 million users of its Weibo micro-blog service increasingly post from mobile devices rather than personal computers. China’s economic slowdown has also damped advertising, crimping earnings at other Internet companies including Baidu Inc. (BIDU:US)
“Sina’s costs on development and staff is quite big,” Deco You, a Beijing-based analyst at Internet consulting group iResearch, said before the announcement. “The company lacks new revenue drivers.”
The Internet company forecast second-quarter non-GAAP revenue of $143 million to $147 million, including advertising revenue of $117 million to $119 million. That compares with the $144 million average of nine estimates (SINA:US) compiled by Bloomberg.
Sina’s ad sales dropped 15 percent in the first quarter from the three months ended Dec. 31 to $94.3 million, according to the statement.
Sina sold an 18 percent stake of its Weibo unit for $586 million to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in April, as the company tries to capture a greater share of social e-commerce through smartphones and tablet computers.
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