Wed, Jan 22, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo-Kimo tag team gets stronger

INTERNET PORTAL The company reported a 57 percent increase in sales for last year, saying that 80 percent of revenue came from ads, while 20 percent was from services

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Yahoo-Kimo Taiwan (雅虎奇摩), the nation's largest Internet portal, reported 57 percent year-on-year sales growth last year, demonstrating its business model has survived the dotcom bubble, an executive from the company said yesterday.

"Last year was very impressive for Yahoo-Kimo," said Rose Tsou (鄒開蓮), general manager at the Yahoo International subsidiary.

"We not only saw tremendous sales growth, but also for the first time started making money."

The company has established user loyalty and gradually figured out what services to offer after being in the local market for four years, she said.

About 80 percent of company revenue last year came from Internet advertising, while the remaining 20 percent was gained from paid services that Yahoo-Kimo began to offer 14 months ago, Tsou said. Prior to that time, Yahoo-Kimo banked solely on selling Web-based advertising.

"Last year our non-advertising income jumped from less than 5 percent to 20 percent," Tsou said.

Taiwanese are paying for online fortune telling, online dating and messaging services on their cellphones.

"These paid services are not brand new ideas ... they have been available in physical world and we just applied them to the Web platform," Tsou said.

US-based Yahoo entered the Taiwan market in January 1999 and merged with Taiwan's No. 1 local Internet portal Kimo in November 2000.

An analyst said Yahoo-Kimo is on the right track.

"Yahoo-Kimo is doing well in positioning itself as a new media and a new channel for delivering existing services," said Chen Jia-shien (陳佳賢), a researcher at the Market Intelligence Center, a government-funded research center.

Once they successfully satisfy users' needs, they will naturally become a valuable as well as profitable company, he said.

Tsou said rising Internet use is also helping.

"As the public becomes more familiar with the cyberworld, they become more open to new online services," he said.

Online transaction-related services, for example, including e-commerce and banking grow in popularity as public confidence in Internet security rises, she said.

As for the big money earner -- online advertising -- Tsou said the company has proven "Internet advertising is not a minor media channel anymore."

Last year the nation's online advertising market reported a 30 percent increase, up from NT$830 million in 2001 to NT$1.1 billion last year, of which Yahoo-Kimo took over 40 percent of the pie, the company said.

Yahoo-Kimo expects to see consistent sales growth in the near-term.

"We're optimistic about this year's Internet market, and Yahoo-Kimo may be able to reach another record-high as a result," Tsou said.

As of September, about 8.35 million Taiwanese had e-mail accounts, making the penetration rate around 37 percent, according to the center.

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