Thursday, 12 February 2009

Yahoo! Philippines bullish about 2009 revenues

Jose Bimbo F Santos
BusinessWorld Online

DESPITE THE grim outlook for the global economy, Yahoo! Philippines expects to double its revenues this year as it banks on the rising online advertising and Web use by Filipinos as key growth drivers.

"Despite the gloom and doom scenarios, our industry continues to thrive," Joselito Añonuevo, general manager of Yahoo! Philippines, told a briefing yesterday.

Yahoo! Philippines, which is said to have an 85% market reach here, outlined strategies to hike revenues, but declined to give figures. The multinational Web giant Yahoo! was reported to have increased its 2008 revenues by 4% to $7.2 billion from a year earlier.

Local Web company Yehey! Corp. has a similar outlook for 2009, projecting 100% revenue growth.

In a telephone interview, Yehey! President and Chief Executive Officer Donald Lim said revenues last year more than doubled from a year earlier, and they were confident that the momentum would continue this year.

"We are still very bullish for this year because our industry is still a growth area," he said, adding that companies might opt to advertise online rather than use radio, TV and print because it is cheaper.

Meanwhile, among the strategies that Yahoo! Philippines intends to adopt is establishing a "social dimension" by partnering with different Web-affiliated organizations.

Yahoo! Philippines, which opened a local office in June, also said it would accommodate third-party applications in their search engine, and would target the local community of Web developers.

Mr. Añonuevo also cited the cheap price and increasing popularity of Web advertising, which he said could encourage companies to advertise their products online.

In a joint study by Yahoo! and the Nielsen Company released in December, online advertising in the Philippines was projected to grow by 41% to $22.11 million by 2010 from $15.64 million last year.

"In this downturn, marketing budgets are scrutinized more and more. Companies are now looking for accountable media, and one of the most efficient ways to advertise is through the Internet," Mr. Añonuevo said.

Yesterday, Yahoo! Philippines launched SearchMonkey, an enhanced search engine that is open to third-party developers and features more images and links in the search results.

According to Yahoo!, the Philippines had an Internet penetration rate of 14.6% in 2008 — or 14 million users — from 9.3% in 2005. The country had 967,600 broadband subscribers as of March 31, 2008.

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