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UPDATE 1-Telstra buys stakes in Chinese Internet firms

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SYDNEY, June 27 - Telstra Corp Ltd TLS.AX, Australia's largest telephone firm, expanded its presence in the Chinese online advertising market with majority stakes in two Internet businesses.

Telstra said it had taken 55 percent stakes in auto site operator Norstar Media and in Autohome/PCPop, which operates an auto site and digital device site.

Telstra said the acquisitions, in addition to its SouFun real estate Web site, will give the firm a strong strategic position in the internet advertising market. Chief Executive Sol Trujillo told Reuters in February he was on the lookout for more online acquisitions in China.

Trujillo said in a statement on Friday the two acquisitions cost less than half the $254 million it paid for a 51 percent stake in SouFun in 2006.

SouFun, China’s top real estate and home furnishing Web site, is managed by Telstra’s directories and online advertising business Sensis.

“Telstra now owns majority interests in three of the leading Chinese companies operating in the three key online advertising industry segments: real estate, auto and digital services,” Trujillo said.

Telstra said online advertising revenues in the Chinese auto segment are predicted to rise from $230 million this year to more than $690 million in 2012. ($1=A$1.05) (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by James Thornhill)

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