One of the top internet companies in China, Sohu, is ramping up mobile advertising efforts to gain ground against competitors including Baidu, Sina, and Tencent.
The company reported fourth quarter revenue of $US477 million, a 24% increase from the previous year. Including the company’s online gaming and search engine subsidiaries — Changyou and Sogou, respectively — Sohu’s total revenue was $US1.7 billion in 2014.
Analysts are talking more positively about the company since Sohu’s transition to the mobile ecosystem has helped the company attract around 35 million people to its mobile search engine and 10 million to its mobile news app, two of the best mobile products in the market, according to analysts from Macquarie. Macquarie raised Sohu’s 2015 earnings projection by 45% partly based on Sohu’s shift towards original content and mobile advertising.
The company’s main focus now is to appeal to the 550 million people in China that use mobile internet. CEO Charles Zhang recently said that the company is focusing on mobile advertising because “mobile phones are with people for…more than 10 hours a day, while PC [is] only with people for two hours.”
In addition, Sohu believes that in-house video content will provide a massive boost following China’s recent crackdowns on internet piracy. Zhang says that right now, Sohu has 80% domestic content and 20% foreign, though the latter number probably won’t increase much because of the the upcoming cap in foreign content.
In 2008, Sohu was awarded full rights to broadcast the Beijing Olympics on their site after partnering with CCTV.com, China’s official broadcast network for the games.