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Sohu.com inches up in debut

Chinese Internet company Sohu.com Inc. (Nasdaq: SOHU) edged up 1/16 to 13 1/16 Wednesday after it priced 4.6 million shares at $13 each, far below its recently increased $16 to $19 range.

The company is crowding into a tight space; besides Netease (Nasdaq: NTES), which flopped in its recent debut, Sohu.com competes with Sina.com (Nasdaq: SINA), Chinadotcom (Nasdaq: CHINA) and U.S.-based Yahoo! Inc (Nasdaq: YHOO). U.S.-based Lycos Inc (Nasdaq: LCOS), which is awaiting a license from the Beijing government, is also vying for a share of the booming Chinese Internet market.

The company's financials are far from impressive; for the year ended December 31, Sohu.com lost $3.4 million on revenue of $1.6 million, as opposed to a loss of $615,000 on a loss of $472 000 in 1998.

Sohu.com, which offers a search engine and 12 content channels covering news, sports, and business in Chinese, is one-third owned by founder and CEO Charles Zhang. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) also holds a 12 percent stake.

Credit Suisse First Boston is the deal's lead underwriter. Co-managers are Donaldson Lufkin Warburg Dillon Read.

Reuters contributed to this report.>