China's portal website Sina.com will team up with five leading international record companies to providecopyrighted music online, Sina announced on Thursday.
The music library will generate revenues from advertising and providing wireless value-added services such as musical ringtones. Profits will be shared by Sina and the record companies that include EMI, SONYBMG, Universal and Warner Music, the company said.
Analysts believe all parties involved will benefit from the move as the website will consolidate its revenues while the record companies will be able to arrest, to some extent, the decline in profits caused by widespread pirating.
Yang Huiying, President of the SONYBMG China corporation, said digital music had gained tremendous popularity in China, which provides great opportunities for record companies.
"The website will launch a pay-per-download service in the future if everything goes well," said Cao Guowei, Chief Executive Officer of Sina.
Sina's online advertising revenues rose by a huge 41 percent from last year, hitting 120.1 million dollars.
Its non-advertising revenue in the fourth quarter, however, dropped 23 percent, as wireless value-added service sales such as text-messaging services, ringtones, wallpapers and other mobile phone add-ons, fell by 11.5 percent.
Analysts predict the market share of digital music in China's music industry will jump five-fold from last year to reach 14.9 billion U.S. dollars by 2010, accounting for 40 percent of the overall industry.