Web companies hope Games will prove gold online

Updated: 2012-06-27 11:43

By Chen Limin and Gao Yuan (China Daily)

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With the London Olympic Games drawing near, Chinese Internet companies, mainly Web portals and online video providers, are gearing up to cash in on the event.

Market players have been trying to attract both users and advertisers by making self-produced Olympics-related programs, increasing content on mobile devices, and taking advantage of micro-blogging services.

Sohu.com Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd, two of the largest Internet portals in China, plan to provide about 10 self-made video programs, including those that invite celebrities to go to London to introduce the city.

Compared with the Beijing Olympics Games in 2008, Sohu has increased its efforts to make programs of this kind to distinguish itself from competitors, said Zhang Yi, director of the sports channel of Sohu.

It will also release its mobile application for the Games in July, apart from its already existing Sohu news application, which has 6 million daily active users.

Although advertisers showed greater enthusiasm for the 2008 Games than they have for the 2012 Games, their interest in ways to advertise on mobile devices has been increasing, said Zhang.

Web companies hope Games will prove gold online

Baidu Inc, the country's top Internet search engine, initiated its Olympic strategy last year when the company upgraded some of its online products to provide better service to advertisers this summer. It teamed up with large advertisers such as Unilever NV and Procter & Gamble Co and said it will launch a series of Olympics-related marketing campaigns for advertisers.

"The Olympics are an indispensable marketing opportunity for advertisers, and we will provide different kinds of services to our customers," Baidu said in an e-mail to China Daily.

Other players, such as major Internet portal Netease.com Inc and PPStream Inc, an online television provider, will also provide services through mobile devices.

In 2011, Chinese users spent an average of 110 minutes each day on their mobile applications, close to the 114 minutes they spent online with their personal computers, Xu Shi, general manager of NetEase's Mobile Internet Center, said in February when introducing the company's Olympic strategy.

About 356 million Chinese had visited the Internet via mobile devices by the end of 2011, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

Micro-blogging services, which are enjoying increasing popularity in the country, have also been what market players aim to cash in on during the Olympic Games.

Tencent, which competes with portal Sina Corp, especially in the micro-blogging field, has gained exclusive access to interview 90 percent of the Chinese medal-winning teams on its micro-blogging service.

Wang Yongzhi, deputy editor of Tencent.com, said the company will spend hundreds of millions of yuan on the Olympic project, mainly on servers and bandwidth, exclusive rights for interviews, and self-made content, according to newspaper National Business Daily.

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