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Sina Chief Steers China's Twitter Deeper Into Internet Finance

Bloomberg News
April 25, 2017, 5:00 AM GMT+8

Sina Corp., the company behind what’s commonly known as China’s Twitter, is preparing to compete with the country’s web giants in online lending as the mobile market starts to slow.

Sina, which controls online messaging service Weibo Corp., plans to create a separate company dedicated to providing internet finance across its services, Chairman Charles Chao said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. In doing so, it will be opening a new battlefront with larger rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Despite being late to the burgeoning industry, Chao told investors in November that Sina’s standing and customer information would help it move quickly once it got the required licenses.

Chao’s company has enjoyed accelerating revenue growth in the past 12 months, thanks largely to the rapid take-up of Weibo in rural areas. But that’s been tied to rising smartphone sales, which are beginning to slow. Now, the company is hunting for new sources of income and has identified online lending -- a highly competitive and increasingly regulated arena. Sina says it can make use of data covering hundreds of millions of users that read its news, exchange messages on Weibo and access its websites.

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