San Francisco, CA, United States (4E) – China’s Twitter micro blogging service Weibo filed for its IPO in the United States on Friday. Weibo plans to raise up to $500 million to start. Weibo isn’t the only Chinese Internet website planning to offer shares in the United States. Chinese e-commerce website Alibaba Group Holding is also planning its IPO filing next month.
Weibo’s been around for five years now and has 129 million active users as of December 2013. That’s a 33% increase from exactly a year ago. For comparison, Twitter has about 241 million active users.
Similar to Twitter, Weibo has become a platform for users to express their discontentment with the Chinese government. Weibo’s most influential user accounts have been shut down by the government.
Weibo’s revenue reached $188 million last year — triple from 2012. But the company also reported losing $38 million.
Alibaba is a major stakeholder in Weibo — owning 18% of the company. Alibaba’s very own IPO is expected to raise $15 billion.
Weibo’s major competition is Tencent Holdings, owners of instant messaging app WeChat.
In its IPO filing, Weibo ran through the challenges it faces.
“In addition to direct competition, we face indirect competition from companies that sponsor or maintain high traffic volume websites or provide an initial point of entry for internet users, including but not limited to providers of search services and navigation pages, such as Baidu, Inc. and Qihoo 360 Technology Co., Ltd. We may also face increasing competition from global social media and social networking services, such as Twitter and Facebook,” via Wall Street Journal.