Sina has officially refuted reports stating that fellow Chinese Internet giant Alibaba will be investing US$2 billion to US$3 billion in its microblogging service Sina Weibo.
China Daily reported Tuesday Sina had come out to debunk the story, saying the "rumor is false" and Sina Weibo has normal business relations with Alibaba. The latter declined to comment, it added.
This official rebuttal from Sina came after a report from China Business News in November revealed Alibaba's supposed plans to spend billions of dollars to buy a 15 percent to 20 percent stake in Sina's popular microblogging platform. It cited an unnamed source from Sina's middle management which revealed both companies had been discussing the investment on many occasions.
China Daily noted Sina's stock price rose 7.81 percent on the day the rumor was reported, which it took to indicate investors' concerns over Sina Weibo and whether it can be a strong revenue generator amid slower user growth and fiercer competition.
Company CEO Charles Chao, too, acknowledged Sina Weibo faced greater competition, especially by Tencent's WeChat instant messaging service. He said WeChat's increasing popularity on mobile devices poses a potential threat to its microblogging site, the report added.