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Profits up as online games score highly

SHANDA Entertainment Ltd posted a better-than-expected net profit for the fourth quarter because of the booming Chinese games market, the Nasdaq-listed firm said yesterday.

Profit jumped 17 percent from a year ago to hit 342.7 million yuan (US$50.10 million), beating analysts' forecasts of 313.3 million yuan. Revenue was 1.01 billion yuan, a growth of 42.1 percent year-on-year, compared with a forecast of 998.9 million yuan.

For the whole of 2008, Shanda's revenue was 3.57 billion yuan, 44.7 percent higher than 2007. Net profit was 1.24 billion yuan, compared to 1.40 billion yuan in 2007.

"Despite the global economic weakness, Shanda has achieved another quarter of record results to close out an outstanding year," Chen Tianqiao, chairman and CEO of Shanda, said.

Last year, Shanda expanded content, broadened its operational platform and opened resources to partners, Chen said.

The Chinese online games market is expected to hit 31.1 billion yuan this year, a 49.7-percent growth year-on-year, according to iResearch Inc, a Shanghai-based IT consulting firm. Last year, revenue jumped 52 percent to reach 20.7 billion yuan.



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