The mainland microblogging service Sina Weibo, with more than 130,000 corporate users as potential clients, is poised to kick off its role as a platform for advertising campaigns on a strong note, analysts say. Weibo, the mainland's most popular Twitter-like platform, operated by the Nasdaq-listed online media giant Sina, is expected to officially release its social advertising offering to companies at its 'Weibo Advertising Summit' on April 26 and 27 in Xiamen, Fujian province. Targeted advertising, in which client companies reach a specific audience based on specific user profiles and paid keywords, would serve as a major source of revenue for Sina Weibo, according to a report by Dick Wei and Evan Zhou, two analysts with JP Morgan Securities (Asia-Pacific). 'Sina has made tangible progress in attracting companies to open 'Enterprise Weibo Accounts' on its platform,' the analysts said. 'We believe there is a lot of potential in Weibo to elevate the level of user interaction with these accounts.' Sina Weibo, which started operations in August 2009, had more than 300 million registered users in February. Of that number, 130,565 were enterprise accounts which are viewed as potential advertisers. For comparison, Baidu, the market leader in internet search, had 311,000 active online marketing customers in the fourth quarter of last year. 'We estimate the business will generate a net income of US$73.7 million, assuming full monetisation [revenue-generating operation] for the year, which is not likely to be the case,' the two JP Morgan analysts said. They also calculated Weibo's value this year at US$1.8 billion, with an average of 320 million active users. Sina's president and chief executive, Charles Chao, has remained conservative about Sina Weibo's commercial prospects. 'We do not expect that total monetisation on Weibo will be significant this year,' Chao said in February. The Shanghai-based company has forecast that its investments in Weibo will climb to US$160 million this year, up from US$110 million last year. Twitter, the privately owned pioneering microblog service, which allows members to send status updates or 'tweets' of 140 characters or fewer, had similarly focused on further development before it started offering advertising and other fee-based services in 2010. The company, which was founded in San Francisco, California, in July 2006, is predicted by the research firm eMarketer to post revenue of US$260 million this year from US$150 million last year. It is predicted to have more than 500 million registered accounts this year. A recent survey released by Sina found Weibo's enterprise users use the service for brand management, communication, customer relationship management, sales and recruitment. These accounts were led by restaurants, car dealers, e-commerce firms and technology vendors.