Sina (NASDAQ:SINA) is reportedly working on its own Android phone.  It is expected to launch a new smartphone, powered by a customized version of Android, which will be integrated with Weibo’s mobile app. Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), one of its largest competitors in the Chinese Internet space, recently launched its own smartphone platform – Baidu Yi, which comes integrated with its services. With its own smartphone, Sina plans to target the highly active Weibo users who would prefer to use a device with complete integration of Weibo’s features. Apparently, a prototype is already designed and the launch is scheduled in 2012.
Sina generates a majority of its revenue from display advertising on its web properties like Sina.com and Weibo.com. It currently has around 250 million registered users on Weibo, second only to Tencent in the Chinese micro-blogging space. It also generates some revenue from paid services like texting, music, ringtones and mobile games.
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Launching a Weibo smartphone could increase Weibo usage, generate additional revenue through hardware sales, and also lead to an increase in revenue from mobile value-added services. However, we are not sure how many consumers will buy the device, given that the Weibo mobile app is available on most smartphone platforms and offers most features that the Weibo smartphone would.
Our current $50 Trefis price estimate for Sina stands nearly 20% below its current market price.Notes: