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Weibo shares jump 20% on NASDAQ debut

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Chinese Twitter-like service Weibo’s shares rose by almost 20% on their first day of trading on the US stock market, after a lukewarm start.

Weibo’s flotation on the NASDAQ stock exchange had initially raised a less-than-expected $286 million.

However, investors flocked to the shares, and they ended the day at $20.24, after opening at $17.

The number of Weibo users fell after China’s censors strengthened control of online discussions last year.

Weibo's flotation on the NASDAQ stock exchange had initially raised a less-than-expected $286 million

Weibo’s flotation on the NASDAQ stock exchange had initially raised a less-than-expected $286 million

The China Internet Network Information Center said in its annual report that almost 28 million people abandoned Weibo in 2013.

It can only be used by Chinese citizens who verify their account with a mobile phone number.

The sale is a big test of demand for Chinese internet stocks ahead of an anticipated listing by Weibo’s co-owner, the Alibaba group.

China’s internet market has grown to become the world’s biggest with more than 500 million users.

With major global social networking firms such as Facebook and Twitter blocked in the country, domestic companies have benefited the most from this growth.

However, the growing popularity of social media platforms has also attracted the attention of authorities who have moved swiftly to silence voices online.

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