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SINA (Nasdaq: SINA ) investors are hoping that its investments will bear fruit.
The Chinese dot-com darling posted mixed results in its latest quarter. SINA's adjusted top line grew 23% to $128.7 million, but its adjusted profit was shaved by more than half to $0.21 a share.
Analysts saw this coming. Ironically enough, it's actually SINA's non-GAAP revenue that fell short of the $129.3 million that Wall Street was targeting. The pros nailed the bottom line.
It's not easy being SINA. The company's throwing a lot of money at its fast-growing Weibo site that has emerged -- for better or worse -- as the Twitter of China.
SINA has also been nibbling on some of its publicly traded peers. It acquired a 9% stake in video-sharing website Tudou (Nasdaq: TUDO ) and a 19% stake in struggling apparel e-tailer Mecox Lane (Nasdaq: MCOX ) last year. Both investments have been disastrous, and SINA's sitting on unrealized losses in both purchases.
It's sitting on a potential gold mine with Weibo, but might it be a land mine instead? Chinese regulators are pondering ways to put the clamps on China's Web 2.0 darlings.
This is a problem that won't go away until the government makes a decision. Renren (NYSE: RENN ) may feel protected because the leading social-networking website requires users to sign up with their real names, but that won't help if China decides to tighten up on the personal freedoms of expression that China's influential youth is relishing on Renren, Weibo, and Tudou.
SINA is projecting $101 million to $104 million in non-GAAP revenue for the current quarter. Yes, that's considerably below SINA's fourth-quarter showing, but there is seasonality in cyberspace when it comes to the world's most populous nation. However, SINA's top-line prognosis is still quite light, representing a mere 6% to 9% year-over-year advance.
Now that SINA's top line is starting to decelerate, investors better hope that its bottom line is ready to shine again.