Had the "Twitter (TWTR) of China" gone public maybe three years ago, the offering could have been a huge hit. Back then, Weibo was the hottest messaging service in China. I remember traveling around the mainland back then and you couldn't get into an elevator without hearing the sound that someone around you had just posted a Weibo on their mobile phones.
The service gave the Chinese people their first real taste of mass communication with others, all allowed by the government.
However, two things happened. Government censors cracked down on some Weibo users including ones known as the "Big Vs" because they are "verified" and have millions of followers in some cases. Also, Tencent's WeChat came along over the last two years and became the preferred way of communicating ideas. An added bonus of WeChat is that your thoughts are only communicated with the friends you choose rather than the open public. Therefore, censorship is not an issue.
Since WeChat's ascension, Weibo can't seem to find its identity or path forward. Its user growth and engagement has been declining, even as it works hard at making money off users. (Sound like another company you know?)
Now the company has chosen to go public at this moment. It has left potential investors underwhelmed. Initially, when Weibo first filed to go public, there was talk it could get a $7 billion or even $8 billion valuation. At the current initial public offering price, it will be a $2.5 billion valuation.