Telstra, the parent company of Sensis, the Australian-based Yellow Pages company, has acquired 55 percent of Autohome/PCPop, which runs Autohome.com.cn, a Chinese auto portal, and Norstar Mediatwo, a Chinese CNET-like tech site.
The two properties complement Telstra’s 51 percent share in SouFun, China’s top real estate site. “Telstra now owns majority interests in three of the leading Chinese companies operating in the three key online advertising industry segments: real estate, auto and digital devices,” said CEO Sol Trujillo in the announcement. “These acquisitions provide further high-growth opportunities for Sensis,” which is described as “our buy, find and sell business.”
Telstra, in its announcement, notes that online advertising revenues in the Chinese auto segment are predicted to almost triple by 2012, rising from US$230 million this year to more than US$690 million in 2012. New car sales in China are already almost half those of the United States, with 7.2 million cars sold this year. China is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest auto market in the next decade.
It also notes that the online “digital device” advertising market is expected to triple by 2012 — up from about US$235 million this year to US$700 million. Last year, 48 percent of the Chinese population had access to a digital device. By 2015, that percentage is predicted to increase to 84.5 percent, or 1.18 billion people.