Sina said fourth-quarter net income fell to $11.7 million, or 20 cents per share, from $13.8 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, such as a write-off for prepaid license fees, the company’s profit grew to 26 cents per share from 21 cents a year ago, Sina said.
Revenue came to $56.4 million, exceeding its own forecast of $53 million to $56 million and beating the average analyst forecast of $54.87 million.
Sina’s closest competitor Sohu.com Inc., which reported a 32 percent drop in quarterly profit on Tuesday amid weak wireless revenues, has dropped out of the three top rankings, according to a report by UBS Investment Research.
“We believe Sina will benefit from Sohu’s loss as advertisers might shift more advertising to Sina and away from Sohu,” wrote UBS analyst George Chu, adding that Sina’s ad revenues were nearly 60 percent higher than Sohu’s in the third quarter of last year.
Sina remains the top portal in China with a 55.5 percent share of the market, Chu added. Netease.com Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. followed in second and third place, with 51.3 percent and 48 percent shares, respectively.
China is the world’s second-largest Internet market after the United States, with around 137 million users, and the world’s biggest mobile market with more than 440 million subscribers.
Sohu, Sina, and Netease were once China’s fastest-rising tech stars, as the Web portals found elusive profits providing services such as ringtone downloads and daily weather reports in China’s mobile messaging market.
But for the last two years, the trio have been working to diversify revenues, as the market for their core wireless services starts to mature and commissions are squeezed by China’s mobile carriers.
Sina forecast first-quarter revenue at $45 million to $50 million, compared to the Wall Street consensus of $51.38 million according to Reuters Estimates.
The company’s shares rose to $33.7 in after-hours trading from their Nasdaq close of $33.05.
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