Web portal Sohu reports $79 million loss on higher expenses as mobile, games businesses expand

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BEIJING, China – Sohu.com Inc., which operates one of China’s most popular Web portals, said Monday it lost $79 million in the latest quarter due to higher expenses as its games and mobile businesses expanded.

The loss for the three months ending March 31, equal to $2.05 per share, compared with a $23 million profit for the same period a year earlier.

The Beijing-based company cited higher promotion and compensation costs as its mobile business and Changyou games unit expanded.

Total revenues for the quarter rose 19 per cent to $365 million. Online advertising was up 51 per cent at $175 million.

Companies such as Sohu that prospered in the desktop computer-based Internet era are racing to roll out mobile services as Chinese Web surfers shift to going online using smart phones and tablet computers.

Sohu operates online media, search, gaming, community and mobile services.

In the first quarter, its mobile video traffic surpassed PC-based traffic, according to Chairman Charles Zhang.

“With the accelerated migration to mobile internet, I am pleased to report that Sohu Group’s portfolio of mobile properties is gaining great traction,” Zhang said in a statement.

Sohu’s mobile search traffic rose 24 per cent, according to Xiaochuan Wang, chief executive of its Sogou search unit.

For the current quarter, Sohu forecast total revenues between $397 million and $411 million and a loss of between $48 million and $52 million.

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