Yahoo Taiwan agreed to buy popular blog site Wretch.cc in a deal the companies expect to push them into the Web 2.0 era in Taiwan.
Wretch.cc is the most popular site in Taiwan offering Web services broadly defined as Web 2.0, which entails mixing user-generated content and multimedia applications such as video. The site offers blogs, video blogs and photo albums, and had announced plans to expand to video publishing similar to YouTube next year.
Teaming up with Yahoo will help it invest in new services and give its users access to Yahoo technology and resources, the company said in a statement Thursday. Wretch.cc, Taiwan’s most popular blogging site, with about 2.8 million members, will continue to operate independently, it said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the companies. Yahoo said the companies hope to finalize the deal early next year. The Yahoo-Wretch.cc deal requires approval by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission and other regulatory agencies before it can be finalized.
The deal highlights the continuing trend of U.S. Internet giants such as Yahoo to expand into new services by buying Web upstarts. Google, for example, agreed to pay US$1.65 billion for video-sharing website YouTube earlier this year, while eBay acquired Internet phone company Skype last year in a multibillion-dollar deal. For Yahoo, it’s one of many acquisitions, including Flickr and De.licio.us in recent years.
It’s also another Yahoo purchase in Asia, where U.S. Internet companies have had a tough time attracting users on their own. Yahoo Taiwan grew out of Yahoo’s 2000 purchase of Kimo.com, the most popular portal on the island at the time. And last year, Yahoo agreed to pay $1 billion in cash and transfer all of its Chinese businesses to Alibaba.com for a 40 percent stake in the company.
Jason Chiang, an analyst at Access Rating Online (ARO), said the deal makes sense for both companies, but noted that Yahoo had already seen significant success with its own blog site in Taiwan.
Yahoo opened its first blog site for users late last year, but by the end of August it had the second-largest number of hits per month after first place Wretch. MSN Spaces took third, ARO said, followed by Yam.com’s blogs and Xuite blogs.
-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)
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