In the beginning of November, online portal
Sohu became an Internet content sponsor of the Beijing Olympics, beating out
rival Sina. As sponsor, Sohu will host the official Olympic website, and can
brand its own sites with a sponsorship logo.
Former Sohu president and COO Gu Yongqiang
said that Sohu's successful bid was not a matter of having a higher offer than Sina.
Sohu and Sina had competed in the past for sponsorship of the NBA, and though
Sina's offer was higher, Sohu ultimately won the bid. Gu attributes Sohu's
success to being quicker on the draw and, in this case, cultivating a
relationship with the Olympic committee.
As early as 2001, Sohu was involved with
the Olympic selection process, and in 2003 it sent a delegation to Switzerland
several times to persuade the Olympic committee to accept an Internet sponsor.
Though Sina and Netease engaged in fierce competition, Sohu was the ultimate
victor, say Gu, because of it had accumulated wider-ranging experience; it had
been invited to Athens
as a sponsor observer to get acquainted with technical details.
As a business, Sohu
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