I was chatting with a friend today on MSN. I asked him where he was, and his answer absolutely surprised me. He is at Mount Everest! No joke here, this guy is working for SOHU and he is there together with his CEO, Charles Zhang to broadcast the Olympics Torch Relay.
So SOHU, very popular Chinese portal, official sponsor of Olympics 2008 really stands at the top of the world. This is very entertaining, but what is happening in these Chinese portals in web2.0 era?
Let’s take a quick review of 6 popular portal sites. Sina.com is for me the No.1 news portal, but its Mofun recently released looks a nice try of desktop widget service; Sohu.com seems to be a more technique-driven companies, its Open Blog Platform could be a proof; 163.com, this Guangzhou-based company have spent lot’s of resource on the online game industry; Tom.com which represents Joost and Skype in China seems out of top portal competition, but it is planning something big, check its new personalized home page and you will smell its revolution; Daqi.com is quite young, it drives towards to a social marketing company and take the advantage of Chinese BBS phenomenon; Qihoo.com just launched what they calls a widget, XKoo for BBS systems (Discus!, PhPWind,DVBBS), so people is very curious about if it aims to be a Chinese Slide.com.
So from my opinion, Chinese portals are changing and they are driving towards different direction. What I am really interested in is not which site will be the No.1 portal in China, but when Chinese Internet can really stand out in global market one day? Can we rely on these portals to represent China? I don’t know, hopeful they will have some ambitions and global strategy soon.