Sina.com's plans for a dual listing on the Nasdaq in the United States and the Growth Enterprise Market in Hong Kong are being revived, with the mainland company considering an initial public offering it hopes could raise up to US$1 billion. After a protracted application process, the popular Chinese-language portal operator reportedly won approval last week from the mainland's Ministry of Information Industry and the China Securities Regulatory Commission to list its shares overseas. It would be the first mainland portal to do so. Other popular mainland portals such as Sohu.com and Netease.com have yet to win regulatory approval for their overseas listing plans. Although the size of any Sina.com offering has yet to be fixed, sources close to the company said it would 'probably be in the region of $1 billion'. They said Sina.com was aiming for a market capitalisation of more than $7 billion. Officials from Sina.com declined to comment yesterday on a flotation. The company has for months been the focus of speculation about its listing plans, which faltered late last year after defections of key staff. There were also suggestions that the company's news content was a source of concern to Beijing. 'Morale in the firm has improved significantly over the weekend,' one source said. 'A lot of employees who were planning to quit are now staying on.' US investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which has been advising Sina.com since last year, refused to comment on the listing plans. Sina.com is cited in a number of surveys as being the most popular Chinese-language portal, and it has reported more than 2.56 million registered users and 14.8 million page hits a day. Rival Chinadotcom raised more than $96.6 million from an initial public offering on Nasdaq in July. It is now valued at more than $4.7 billion. One analyst said that, based on Chinadotcom's valuation, Sina.com could be valued as high as $10 billion. The company is targeting 15 million to 20 million registered users by the end of next year. Based on a market capitalisation of $7 billion, red chip Stone Electronic Technology's 10 per cent interest in Sina.com would be worth $700 million. Stone Electronic was among the early institutional investors in Sina.com. Stone is believed to have paid $2 million for its stake during the first round of Sina.com's institutional fund-raising. Other minority shareholders in Sina.com include Softbank, Pacific Century CyberWorks, Dell Computers, Goldman Sachs, Creative Technology, United Overseas Bank and Walden International Investment. Sina.com was formed in May last year through the merging of SRS - the mainland's biggest Internet and software company - and Sinanet, a Silicon Valley-based portal operator targeting expatriate Chinese.