Weibo IPO Is a Test for Twitter, Alibaba

Updated from 8:25 a.m. ET to include closing share prices

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Weibo (WB), often referred to as the Chinese version of Twitter (TWTR), began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Thursday, surging over 19% after the company priced its initial public offering at the low end of its expected range.

The listing brought yet another fast-growing social media company to U.S. stock markets and could be a leading indicator of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's much anticipated IPO.

Beijing-based Weibo sold 16.8 million American depositary shares of its Class A stock at a price of $17 a share, or the low-end of its expected range. However, Weibo shares popped on their first day of trading, rising over 19% to close at $20.24 a share. Underwriters Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse will have the option to purchase an additional 2.52 million shares to cover over-allotments.

In total, Weibo raised $285.56 million in its IPO. The company first filed for a U.S. stock offering in mid-March.

In China, Weibo provides a way for users and organizations to publicly express themselves in real time and interact with others in a similar fashion to Twitter in the U.S. The company was founded in 2009 and is majority owned by Chinese internet company SINA (SINA). In the filing, Weibo said that it would use some IPO proceeds to repay loans to its parent company, Sina.

In early 2013, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba invested $585.8 million in Weibo for approximately 18% of the company's outstanding shares. According to a disclosure, Alibaba can increase its stake in the company to 30%. Alibaba is partially owned by Yahoo! (YHOO), which has a 24% stake in the Chinese Internet giant.

If you liked this article you might like

The Flippers Are at Work and the Bears Are Hopeful

Facebook's Chinese Push Still Faces Some Huge Challenges

Facebook's Chinese Push Still Faces Some Huge Challenges

Hang Seng Moves to Maintain Hong Kong's Relevance By Including Chinese Stocks

China Steps Up Censorship of Social Media Sites