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Chinese internet giant
SINA) has made leaps and bounds in grabbing internet users in the People's Republic over the last few years. The firm owns a leading news portal as well as Weibo, a platform that's been called the Chinese version of Twitter.
The one-two punch of a popular news portal and social media site make Sina especially valuable for advertisers looking to capture the valuable (and burgeoning) Chinese middle class consumer. Because Sina's user base skews wealthy and educated, it's able to command higher advertising fees for its space. Weibo has been a huge growth driver for Sina since it was launched in 2009. Currently, there are more than 500 million Weibo accounts on the service.
While the threat of increasing regulation in a country not known for its online freedoms could squeeze Weibo's user-base, the site ultimately remains the best platform for microblogging, however flawed it may be. Newly imposed restrictions will impact all Chinese social media sites equally. Meanwhile, SINA's debt-free balance sheet sports more than $1.1 billion in cash and investments, giving the firm ample dry powder to buy more traffic generation brands going forward.
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