According to a report by Xinhuanet, Sina, Sohu, and Netease, China's three leading gateway websites, have ambitious plans for online games after ending 2003 in the black.
"Online games will continue to be the engine of our business in 2004 after they contributed much to the profit growth of the fourth quarter last year," said Sun Deli, deputy CEO of Netease, whose company saw surprising success last year with its "Chinese Odyssey Online II," and in January it launched "Chinese Odyssey Magic."
Sina, meanwhile, has pledged to invest more in online games, having just founded a joint venture with Korean gaming maker NCSoft and plans to set up a strategic alliance with Internet bars, hardware producers and telecommunications firms to promote the Korean game "Heaven II." Sohu will promote its online game "Sword on line" in the latter half of 2004 after it bought the online gaming website 17173.com.
The three leading Chinese websites reported profits for the first time in 2003. Sina earned 31.4 million US dollars in net profits, while Sohu reported 26.4 million US dollars and Netease 39.5 million US dollars.