Mon, May 24, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Growing Internet use in Asia could benefit Yahoo, EBay and Sina

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Yahoo Inc, EBay Inc and Sina Corp (新浪公司) could benefit as the number of Internet users in China rise above 80 million, US financial weekly Barron's reported, citing an interview with Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker.

All three companies are trying to expand sales from advertising and online auctions, Meeker told the newspaper. Commerce on China's Internet relies mostly on small fees of seven cents or less for playing an online game or sending a message, because few Chinese can afford monthly access fees of US$20 or more as commonly charged in the US, Meeker said.

Shanghai-based Sina, which sells games, messaging, advertising and news, is "the best proxy for the market," Meeker told Barron's, based on a 200-page study of Chinese Internet stocks by Morgan Stanley.

Yahoo will sell advertising for a service that can find documents in other languages after users enter Chinese characters, Meeker said.

EBay is surmounting limitations of China's poor parcel service, and most transactions are between people in different regions rather than between neighbors on street corners, she said.

China had 80 million Internet users last year, second only to the US, and may lead in Internet use within five years, she said.

The market value of all Chinese Internet companies is no more than US$7 billion.

Government restrictions on ownership make investing in China's Internet risky, Meeker said.

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