SPH to expand online classifieds

Singapore Press Holdings’ 701 Search, a media company that specialises in building and growing online marketplaces in South East Asia, is looking to expand into mobile classifieds with the help of a Norwegian telco.

Telenor ASA, Norway’s leading telecommunications company, will invest in a third of 701Search, which is currently equally owned by SPH and Norway’s Schibsted Classified Media.

The website currently operates online classified companies in Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines and Vietnam, but is looking to expand its presence in the region by tapping in to Telenor’s established Asian telecommunications network.

Telenor head of digital Rolv-Erik Spilling said his company’s knowledge in the mobile sector will be imperative in helping 701Search grow and expand in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

“Online classifieds on mobile is growing fast,” Mr Spilling said.

“Being one of the largest mobile operators in the world with a strong footprint in emerging markets, it makes perfect sense for Telenor to team up with two world class companies like Schibsted and SPH to create a leading online classifieds player.”

The expansion into mobile is a positive one, with the PwC Entertainment and Media Outlook predicting South East Asia will be the next boom region for mobile internet subscriber bases.

The PwC report predicted mobile internet subscribers to grow by 31.1 per cent in The Philippines, 30.4 per cent in Vietnam, and 30.3 per cent in Indonesia.

The move will build 701Search’s presence in the region, says SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan.

“SPH and Schibsted are leading providers of one of the most popular internet services in online classifieds, and reach around 100 million people worldwide,” Mr Chan said.

“Telenor is one of the world’s leading mobile companies already bringing communication and internet services to 150 million customers in Europe and Asia.

“SPH, Schibsted and Telenor are a perfect match.”

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