On 11 August 2007, media company Singapore Press Holdings announced that SPH Search, a joint venture with Norwegian media group Schibsted ASA, has started crawling and indexing websites for a Singapore web index. SPH Search will be launched sometime in the first half of next year.
SPH and Schibsted entered into two joint venture agreements last year to set up a regional joint venture company and a Singapore joint venture company to develop the online business including online classifieds, search and directories and other internet opportunities.
SPH Search will give the results related to Singapore and the final product will be one powerful local search engine that provides users with highly relevant search results.
“We will want to make sure content is accurate, updated and relevant for Singaporeans to use.” said Ms Elsie Chua, chairman of SPH Search.
The two joint venture companies will benefit from Schibsted’s unique technologies and capabilities in the online business as well as SPH’s expertise as a leading content provider and its understanding of and network in the Asian markets. Both companies will make an initial investment of over S$2 million each to set up the two joint ventures.
SPH is a leading media company in Singapore with established platforms in publishing, Internet and broadcasting. With overseas ventures in magazines and outdoor advertising, SPH’s operations span Asia in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China.
“We are very excited about the partnership as it marks a major milestone in SPH’s quest to grow beyond print and beyond Singapore,” Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH said.
“Schibsted has a strong online position and wealth of experience in developing online concepts in Europe while SPH can complement Schibsted’s strengths, with our in-depth knowledge of the local market and well-established network gained through our existing investments in the regional markets. Together, our combined expertise and capabilities will allow us to provide a complete suite of online business offerings to prospective customers and partners.” he added.
The regional joint venture company, named 701Search Pte Ltd (“701Search”), will identify potential investments in online classifieds, search and directories across Southeast Asia and Greater China. 701Search will be held 50-50 by SPH Interactive International Pte Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPH incorporated in Singapore) and Schibsted International Classifieds & Search AS (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schibsted incorporated in Norway).
“Our joint venture agreements with SPH represent Schibsted’s first move into Asia. This is a significant move for Schibsted as our experience to-date has been limited to Europe,” said Mr Kjell Aamot, CEO of Schibsted.
“Schibsted has good experience in working with local partners when entering into new markets and we are very satisfied with having reached these agreements with SPH. We could not have found a better partner. Combining SPH’s local market knowledge and market positions with our demonstrated experience within the online classifieds, search and directories businesses will give the joint ventures the best preconditions for successful growth.” he continued.
Schibsted, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, is one of the most prominent media groups in Scandinavia. Besides key operations in Norway and Sweden, Schibsted has an extensive European footprint with presence in Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Slovenia and Latin America.
Over the years, Schibsted has successfully penetrated the nascent online classified market in Norway, Sweden and subsequently in other parts of Europe. Schibsted’s recent acquisition of Trader Classified Media’s Western Europe business has further cemented its position as Europe’s leading online classified player.