Sohu.com, one of China's three overseaslisted internet portals, improved its secondquarter results sharply on the back of its World Cup promotions, said the Financial Times. Revenues of US$6.13m were up 35 per cent on the first quarter, and 113 per cent year-on-year, giving it its first quarter of positive earnings.
Increased advertising was one reason for the improvement, but growth was also driven by a boom in short message services (SMS) among the country's 176m mobile-phone users, many of whom were following the progress of the Chinese national team, which qualified for the finals for the first time. The significance of the World Cup was highlighted by a dispute between Sohu and its rival Sina.com over which held the Chinese rights to act as official website for the event.
Along with the third listed portal, Netease.com, the companies remain bullish about prospects for future growth. China has 40m registered internet users, but many more surf the web at internet cafes.