Sina.com traffic tops China Web sites

The portal Sina.com.cn was the most visited Web site in homes in China in December, but rival Sohu.com Inc. outdid all its rivals in terms of visits to its Web properties, research company Iamasia (Interactive Audience Measurement Asia) reported Thursday.

Internet viewing habits in China did not change significantly in December, however, as the three leading sites and operators stayed the same, according to projections based on a monthly online survey by Iamasia. Sohu.com, Sina.com and NetEase.com Inc., all traded on the U.S. Nasdaq stock market, remained closely matched in the country's fast-growing market of Internet users. The leading Western sites in China, Microsoft.com and Yahoo.com, were viewed by only about one-quarter of Web users in December.

Iamasia estimated that 4.35 million unique home users, or 54.1 percent of home Web users in China, viewed Sohu.com sites in December. They were followed by Sina.com sites that were visited by about 51.9 percent and those of NetEase.com Inc., visited by 50.9 percent. Microsoft Corp.'s sites came in fourth, viewed by just under 35 percent of users.

Sina.com flagship Sina.com.cn, the most visited site, attracted 4.08 million unique home users or 50.7 percent of home Web users, followed by NetEase.com's 163.com with 48.7 percent of Web users visiting and the sohu.com site with 46.7 percent. Microsoft.com was fourth, visited by just 26.1 percent of Web users.

One site that apparently got a big boost from the holiday season was Cardshow Arts' kaxiu.com, an online greeting-card site, which jumped 24 places to 12th place in December.

According to estimates by the China Internet Network Information Center, reported by the official Xinhua News Agency, the number of Internet users in China grew 33 percent in the second half of 2000 to 22.5 million. Nevertheless, shares of Sohu, Sina and NetEase have been hammered along with most other Internet-related stocks since April 2000.

Iamasia, in Hong Kong, can be reached at +852-2581-0048 or via the Web at http://www.iamasia.com.

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