Yahoo sees rapid online ad growth in emerging markets

SINGAPORE Tue Jun 3, 2008 1:46am EDT

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Internet media firm Yahoo Inc expects to expand its online advertising revenues in emerging markets above the industry's 30 percent growth rate over the next few years, an executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

Online advertising revenues in emerging markets are expected to grow at 30 percent annually over the next three to four years as more people go online and access the Internet through mobile phones.

"For Yahoo's emerging markets, we're going to grow faster than that," Prashant Mehta, Yahoo's vice president of emerging markets, said in an interview.

Yahoo, the world's number two web search service after Google Inc, estimates that it has 130 million users in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, India, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. This compares with over 500 million users worldwide every month.

Mehta said Yahoo plans to "aggressively" hire new sales, marketing and engineering staff in these emerging markets, and boost investments in infrastructure such as data centers, but declined to provide any detailed forecasts.

"We doubled our headcount in the emerging markets between 2006 and 2007. We're not going to slow down our investments in these markets," he said.

Last month, software giant Microsoft Corp walked away from a sweetened proposal to buy Yahoo for $47.5 billion, or $33 a share, as talks broke down after the latter rebuffed the offer, saying it would only settle for $37 a share.

Microsoft had initiated an unsolicited bid originally worth around $44.6 billion in January.

(Reporting by Jennifer Tan, editing by Neil Chatterjee)

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