Home-grown and overseas Internet portals alike have begun to hire agencies to promote their search-engine services, which they hope can become a new profit engine.

Lycos Asia (China) Limited, a joint venture between Terra Lycos Inc and Singapore Telecommunication, said yesterday it has hired HowV Network Tech Co Ltd as the exclusive distributor of its search products in the Chinese mainland. Xiamen-based HowV Network also has distribution agreements with several other major portals, including Sina.com and Sohu.com.

NetEase.com Inc has authorized Shanghai Hotsales Software Technology Co Ltd last month as its exclusive distributor to promote its search engine services targeting small- and medium-sized companies in Shanghai. It plans to grab 40 percent of the search engine advertisement market in Shanghai this year. Lycos didn't release any share objective or sales figure for the first year of the deal. While half of its domestic revenue comes from wireless services, it doesn't want to be late for the search engine advertisement market.

Google Inc, another popular online search engine, made efforts to tap the Chinese market earlier this year as it launched a service enabling domestic companies to put online advertisements on the Website. The Chinese search-result advertisement market reached 480 million yuan (US$57.83 million) last year and is expected to hit 780 million yuan this year, according to iResearch.


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