BEIJING: Chinese online adspend will reach a total value of $1.7 billion (€1.3bn; £1.1bn) this year, rising to $3.4bn by 2012, according to figures from eMarketer, the online research firm.

The company reports that the Chinese web ad market was worth $961m in 2007, and will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 24% to 2012.

Its estimates are based on data and statistics from search engines including Baidu, Google, Yahoo and Sohu, as well as forecasts from ZenithOptimedia, Magna and Bernstein Research.

Search adspend in China is set to grow in value from $630m last year to $1.7bn in 2012, a CAGR of 30%, with display up from $723m to $1.4bn over the same period, an annual uplift of 19%.

Sohu, one of China's biggest web portals, has also announced it is aiming to heighten its focus on advertising, video and providing paid-for content after spinning off, its games division.

The company's chief executive, Charles Zhang, said it will prioritise "monetizing our business such as online advertising, search advertising, video and may even charge for content."

As previously reported, Google has also recently launched a new free music service in the country, but Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst at Bernstein Research, argues this will not overly impact Baidu's dominance of the search market.

He argues the move was "a too-late gambit” and anticipates that "Chinese users will continue to utilize the Baidu service that they are most familiar with."

Data sourced from eMarketer/Bloomberg/Washington Post; additional content by WARC staff