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Sina reports profit surge on strong advertising sales
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China's leading portal website Sina.com said its net profit in 2007 surged 45 percent to 57.7 million U.S. dollars, or 97 cents per share driven by strong advertising revenues.

The yearly revenue of the Nasdaq-listed company increased by 16 percent to 246.1 million U.S. dollars, fuelled by a remarkable 41 percent rise in advertising sales in the mainland market that reached 68.9 million U.S. dollars.

The major popular portal in China also saw record quarterly profit in the last three months of 2007, with a net profit of 17.5million U.S. dollars, up 49 percent year on year.

"Our advertising revenue continued to be strong last year, and it is set to keep the upper trend next year", Sina's CEO Charles Chao said in a statement.

Yang Ke, analyst with the leading industry research agency China Computerworld Research (CCW Research) said the profit surge was also fueled by the Olympic Games advertising frenzy as the unprecedented event for China was getting near.

Meanwhile, enterprises who wanted advertising merely on the front page, showed more interest in such vertical channels of the website as automobile and finance to raise their image, which also help drive up the advertising revenue, Yang said.

Chao noted in the statement that the sales from mobile service registered the first quarterly-profit surge in two years.

The fourth-quarter income from mobile service jumped 12 percent from the previous quarter to 18.6 million U.S. dollars.

The company projected the 1Q income in 2008 will reach 66 to 68 million U.S. dollars, with advertising worth 45 to 46 million U.S. dollars.

Yang, however, warned that compared with Sohu.com, another leading Chinese portal website, Sina relies too much on advertising, which is risky for long-term development.

In aftermarket activity on the Nasdaq, Sina shares fell 0.58 percent, to 42.96 U.S. dollars.

(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2008)




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