Korean portal Naver posts record sales

Korean portal Naver posts record sales

New record set by world's fifth biggest search engine

Profits at NHN Corp, which owns South Korea's largest web portal, reached a new high of $77.9m in the third quarter of the year, according to the company.

The Korean-language Naver information and search portal is among the world's five most visited search sites, despite relying almost entirely on its home market for its audience.

"With the great performance of our game businesses and the steady growth of our search sales, display ads, and e-commerce, NHN achieved record-high operating income of $98.7bn in the third quarter," said NHN chief executive Chae Hwi-young.

"NHN will make our best effort to continue this high growth rate by exploiting new business opportunities, including offering new services related to digital convergence and other emerging technologies."

Game sales were solid as NHN attracted more paying users with the launch of low monthly fee and web-board offerings, which are cash cows in the game business.

"Banner ad sales were good as high-priced contracts increased, although 3Q is typically an off season,” said Jongil Hong, an internet and software analyst at Seoul-based Korea Investment and Securities Co.

Based on the better than expected quarterly results, NHN has raised its 2007 revenue target to $993m.

However, the firm revised downwards earnings predictions for its small overseas operations in Japan and the China after they were hit by higher than expected costs.