Telstra buys controlling stake in Chinese online ad firms

Australia's top carrier Telstra acquired 55% of two Chinese internet businesses with leading positions in the fast-growing online auto and digital device advertising sectors.

Telstra acquired the controlling stakes in the two businesses, Norstar Media and Autohome/PCPop, for an undisclosed amount, a company statement said.

Both businesses are cash-flow positive.

Norstar, founded by Lan Jiang, operates the popular auto site and leading digital device site Autohome/PCPop, founded by Chinese entrepreneur Li Xiang, operates the leading auto site and popular digital device site

Combined with the 2006 acquisition of a 51% stake in China's number one real estate site, SouFun, the majority stakes in the auto and digital device sites give Telstra a strong strategic position in the internet advertising market of the world's most populous nation.

Together, the sites deliver the second largest user traffic in the digital device segment and the largest user traffic in the specialist auto segment, complementing SouFun's leading position in real estate.

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo said the acquisitions were consistent with Telstra's strategy of creating a media-comms footprint in Australia and internationally.