SMS Access Revives Chinese Portals Finances

I’ve written elsewhere about the rise of multimedia mobile telephone access to the Internet and how online publications outside the U.S. are using SMS as a micropayment solution. The South China Morning Post now reports (requires paid access) that China’s three biggest portal sites are using those methods to revive their finances. Chinese government censorship of the wired Internet is ironically helping. More than 3,3000 cybercafes have been shutdown in the People’s Republic, thus many users are switching to their mobile phones for Internet access. China has more than 200 million mobile phone users, all with SMS, many with GPRS ‘always on’ Internet access, and some even with MMS.,, and have begun charging them 1.5 yuan (US$0.18) per wireless access. Those aggregate revenues helped NeEase eke out a US$4,600 profit during 2nd Qtr 2002. Sohu posted a $112,000 profit in roughly period, causing a rise in stock price that made it NASDAQ’s fifth biggest gainer this week.