Uniondale, N.Y.—Hearst Business Media’s Electronics Group and IDG have acquired 21ic.com, China’s top Web portal for electronics engineers, in a deal that gives the two business publishers a substantial footprint in the world’s fastest-growing market for semiconductors and components. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Launched in March 2000, 21ic.com attracts more than 50,000 daily visitors and 1.5 million unique visitors per month. The site targets engineering managers and designers in China’s electronics industry as well as semiconductor vendors seeking to expand or establish business relation-ships in China.
“[The acquisition] gives us the opportunity to leapfrog to the No. 1 position in the Chinese market,” for electronics engineers, said William Barron, VP-publishing director of Hearst Business Media’s Electronics Group. He said the deal enables Hearst and IDG to compete for ad dollars with Reed Business Information, whose online products include EDN Asia.
The portal has two paid areas—one for job listings and the other for posting product listings. Advertisers on the site include Freescale Semiconductor, National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.
The site also features a search engine with access to more than 370,000 data sheets. Each day, there are more than 40 technical forums in which users can exchange ideas and information on topics such as electronics technology, embedded systems, analog and digital design subjects, and test and measurement equipment and techniques.
“Engineers in China are posting messages back and forth, which has not been replicated in the States. So this is one case in which China is ahead of us [online],” Barron said.
He added that it is problematic for electronics engineers in the U.S. to exchange information “because there is a lot of proprietary/competitive thinking, whereas in China there is more of a thirst for information about how China competes with the world.”
Nevertheless, Barron said Hearst Business Media and IDG will explore the possibility of creating a U.S. version of 21ic.com. “Each side needs to learn from the other,” he said.—Matthew Schwartz