Chinese social media company Weibo’s shares jump in US stock market debut

Chinese social media company Weibo Corp.’s shares soared in their U.S. market debut Thursday.

Weibo was launched four years ago by Chinese online media company Sina Corp. Weibo provides a Twitter-like service that allows users to post a feed of up to 140 Chinese characters to share with others. Users can also attach multimedia, such as photos and videos, to their posts.

The company has 61.4 million average daily active users, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Weibo raised $285.6 million, pricing 16.8 million American depository shares at $17 each. That’s a smaller amount than anticipated. Weibo had projected an offering of 20 million shares priced between $17 and $19.

Its shares rose 19 per cent to close at $20.24 Thursday.

Weibo plans to use the IPO’s proceeds to repay loans to its majority owner Sina, and invest the rest in its business. Alibaba Group invested in the company in 2013 and is expected to hold a 32 per cent stake in the company following the offering.

Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, has also said it plans to go public on a U.S. stock exchange.

U.S. shares of the Weibo, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands but conducts business in China, are trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol “WB.”

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