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Booming Internet Celebrity Biz In China Gets Citi Bullish On SINA And Weibo

Booming Internet Celebrity Biz In China Gets Citi Bullish On SINA And Weibo - WB, Sina Corporation NASDAQ:SINA

Citi Research believes now is the time to pull the trigger on Chinese online media company SINA Corp SINA 2.79% and its 54.5 percent-owned Weibo Corp (ADR) WB 5.91%. According to analyst Alicia Yap, the rise of Internet celebrity culture in China could be a huge catalyst for the Weibo.

“With 261 million MAU (85 percent mobile) and 120 million DAU (91 percent mobile), Weibo has become a leading social media platform in China for internet celebrities to cultivate their fan bases and influence topical debates or endorse e-commerce products,” Yap explained.

Citi estimates that China’s internet celebrity economy is a RMB58 billion market in 2016, including product sales and advertising.

Yap believes Weibo is well-positioned to become the leading social platform for live video broadcasting in China. She praised the platform for its openness, its viral dissemination potential and its integration with Aliplay.

Weibo’s revenue per monthly active user in Q1 was only $0.46, well short of social media rivals WeChat ($1.96), Line Corp (ADR) LN 2.14% ($1.37), Twitter Inc TWTR 0.72% ($1.84) and Facebook Inc FB 0.64% ($3.25). Yap believes these numbers are an indication of the type of monetization upside that Weibo could see if it maintains its market positioning.

Citi has initiated coverage of Weibo and SINA with Buy ratings. The firm has a $69 price target for SINA and a $42 price target for Weibo.

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Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

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