New Registrations for Sina Weibo Take a Dive

New registrations for Sina Weibo (NASDAQ:SINA) seem to have taken a nose dive, Bill Bishop notes in a DigiCha report.

In 2011, Sina Weibo had as many as 20 million new registrations per month. But today in Chinese news reports that the government has set a March 16 deadline for all Weibo users to register using real names, it was revealed that Sina has had only about 3 million real-name registrations since Jan. 1. If this number is correct, new Weibo registrations have plummeted to about 2.5 million per month, the report said. At this point, only new users have to register using real names.

So what gives?

Bishop lists three possibile reasons for the plunge:

1. Real-name registration is prohibitive to would-be creators of new spam and zombie accounts, of whic Sina Weibo already has tens of millions;

2. User growth is grinding to a halt because Sina Weibo has already accessed most of its potential users, causing the company to shift its focus to monetizing the existing user base;

3. Potential users are staying away from Weibo because they dislike the idea of real name registration.

With Sina now needing to start showing revenue and profit in Weibo, Bishop stated hopes that the company will announce the new ad-targeting system it’s been working on – along with a solid set of advertisers — at its industry event in March.

Here’s how shares of Sina closed the day:

Sina Corp. (NASDAQ:SINA): SINA shares recently traded at $65.43, down $4.65, or 6.64%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $46.86 to $147.12. Volume today was 8,722,050 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 5,388,870 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-6.42 per share.