July 20, 2007

Olympics Online

There is a new entry in Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Games: the internet.

Sohu.com, China’s third largest portal, may be the “official website” for the 2000 Olympic Games, but new competition comes from a consortium of three heavy-hitters in China’s virtual world. Sina.com, which is China’s largest portal, has partnered with Tencent, China’s fabulously popular IM service and NetEase, a major IT company and provider of online and wireless content and services, to compete for their share of the Olympics market. Hype in China over next summer’s Olympics has already ratcheted up from enthusiasm to obsession, and today’s Shanghai Daily describes the alliance’s new internet challenge as a “declaration of war” against Sohu.com.

Sohu.com has exclusive rights to Games’ premier content. The big three, which also have partners in newspapers and TV, said they will combine their resources to report on the games in technologically new ways. Sohu.com counters that while it may not have the highest internet-user numbers, it has the best access. Let the Games begin!