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Sohu takes two more websites
( 2003-11-26 09:21) (China Daily)

The Chinese Internet company Sohu.com Inc yesterday reorganized its websites to drum up its advertising efforts, consumer services and online gaming markets.

Charles Zhang, chairman and chief executive officer of the Chinese firm listed on the NASDAQ stock market in New York, said yesterday that Sohu's websites will include two more websites - online game portal 17173.com and real estate website Focus.cn, in addition to the previous two Sohu.com and Chinaren.com.

Sohu.com is aimed at high-end users with news, financial information, and other information, while Chinaren.com, which targets young people, is focused on fashion, entertainment, and alumni.

"With the completion of the acquisitions of 17173.com and Focus.cn, we own the biggest Internet assets in the Chinese-speaking world," Zhang said.

After having bought Chinaren.com three years ago with US$30 million, the Chinese venture said yesterday it finished the acquisitions of the two new websites.

Sohu bought 17173.com with US$20.50 million cash and Focus.cn with US$16 million, including 80 per cent in cash and the rest in its shares on the NASDAQ.

With the completion of the deals, Sohu also added more than 100 employees from the two web companies.

However, Victor Koo, Sohu's chief operating officer, said the increase in the number of employees won't be a burden to Sohu's operations.

He explained the two companies were all profitable before the mergers, and Sohu is also hungry for talented people in its expansion.

The 17173.com venture, based in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, is China's biggest online game portal with 4.3 million registered users. Its partnership with more than 10,000 Internet cafes will also be a big help to Sohu in developing its online game distribution channels.

He revealed that 17173.com will also bring expertise on game development, which has come just at the right time since Sohu is developing its own online games now.

The company launched its online game business early this year with importing the Knight Online game from South Korea.

Focus.cn, the most influential real estate website in Beijing, is also expected to help Sohu gain ground in the market, which accounted for 10 per cent of a total 702 online advertising clients in August, according to Shanghai iResearch Co Ltd, an Internet research company.

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