Sina’s Q1 2019 highlights dependence on Weibo

Both companies warned of slowing ad revenue.

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Sina’s newly released Q1 2019 financials showed revenue was at USD 475.1 million (RMB 3.28 billion) in that quarter, up 8% year-on-year, which wasn’t far off from Wall Street estimates of USD 473 million. Net profit was USD 28.9 million, down nearly 18% from USD 35.2 million in the same period last year.

The company also said it was tempering its expectations of full-year revenue growth due to macroeconomic uncertainties.

The results are the latest indication of Sina’s dependence on social platform Weibo, in which it holds a 46% stake.

The social platform accounted for nearly 88% of Sina’s USD 388 million in ad revenue last quarter, and at least 72% of Sina’s total revenue.

Excluding Weibo, ad revenue on Sina’s online portal decreased 27%, while non-ad revenue reached just USD 32.3 million (RMB 223 million), up 34% but only accounting for 6.7% of Sina’s total revenue.

Weibo’s Q1 2019 wasn’t rosy either. The company narrowly beat revenue expectations and outperformed on net revenue, but raised alarm bells around its ad business.

Revenue in Weibo’s ad segment rose 13% year-on-year, but the growth rate was at its lowest since the company went public in 2014. It also warned that said ad growth rates would slow to zero, from a more than 70% growth rate one year ago.

Sina’s stock dropped 10% after hours, in tandem with Weibo, which closed down more than 11%, reaching its lowest point since January 2017.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad