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Sohu earnings up fivefold
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13:49, April 29, 2008

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Chinese Web portal Sohu.com Inc yesterday posted a nearly fivefold profit growth in its quarterly result, boosted by robust revenue from online games and the booming online ad sales in the run-up to the Beijing Games.

Sohu's revenue in the first quarter ended last month grew 156 percent to $84.8 million, while profit surged 383 percent to $21.6 million.

Its brand advertising revenue reached $33.2 million, up 41 percent year-on-year. Online game revenue increased 24 times to $41 million, boosting the company's non-advertising revenue by 570 percent to $50.1 million.

The startling growth is attributed to Sohu's sponsorship of the upcoming Beijing Games and the success of "Tian Long Ba Bu", an online role-playing game that Sohu.com introduced last May.

"Despite a generally weak season in the industry for the first quarter of the year, we were able to achieve yet another record in terms of brand advertising revenues," said Belinda Wang, co-president and chief marketing officer of Sohu.com.

"We can squarely attribute these results to the continued shift of advertising from offline to online and the robust momentum in advertisers' spending as the 2008 Beijing Games draws nearer."

According to a new report by Goldman Sachs, the Beijing Games is expected to bring in an additional $65 million in online advertising revenue to Chinese Internet companies, mainly from Olympic global partners such as Samsung and Adidas that have been vigorously expanding their businesses in China.

Deutsche Bank also said in an earlier report that the online ad spend in China is forecast to grow some 50 percent, from $731 million this year to $1.79 billion in 2008.

In recent years, Sohu.com has launched its Olympic marketing strategy and became the official Internet content sponsor for the Beijing Games in 2005.

The company has also been striving to make revenue outside the online advertising sector to avoid market fluctuations.

China had 210 million Internet users by the end of 2007. The country has surpassed the United States as the world's largest Internet population, research firm BDA China said last month.

Source: China Daily

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