Chinese Twitter clone wants to raise $500 million in an IPO

Sina Weibo, the Chinese social network that looks and works a lot like Twitter, has started the process of going public in the United States. The micro-blogging platform is looking to raise up to $500 million in an initial public offering, though as with any IPO this is subject to change. Twitter itself began trading as a public company back in November. Weibo is smaller than Twitter, with 129 million monthly active users compared with 241 million for the U.S. outfit, though it is some three years younger.

Twitter-like messaging service Weibo Corp filed on Friday to raise $500 million via a U.S. initial public offering, as Chinese companies flock to the American market in record numbers to take advantage of soaring valuations. Weibo, owned by Sina Corp, becomes the latest Chinese Internet giant to tap U.S. markets, following on the heels of search service Baidu and its own corporate parent. Alibaba, which owns a stake in Weibo, is expected to raise about $15 billion in New York this year, in the highest-profile Internet IPO since Facebook’s in 2012. But underscoring challenges facing Internet firms operating in a heavily censored and tightly controlled media environment, Weibo warned investors in its Friday IPO filing about uncertainty arising from Chinese government regulation.

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