If at first you don't succeed, throw a little more money into a hot market.
Ask.com parent IAC/InterActiveCorp
IAC's inroads have been mostly dead ends so far. It acquired a majority stake in eLong
IAC is hoping to cover all of its bases this time around. Yes, Ask.com will be coming to China within the next two years, though it may take a different form than the conventional search-engine site that stateside consumers have come to expect out of IAC's paid-search workhorse. The company is earmarking $100 million to make a dent in a market that is expanding at a far heartier clip than the mature Web closer to home.
Another area in China that piques the interest of IAC helmsman Barry Diller is online gaming.
That's a no-brainer. Recent IPOs of interactive experience enablers in China, like Perfect World
The trading lull has also struck some of the country's publicly traded pioneers, like Shanda Interactive
So why is this a no-brainer for IAC, when the niche is clearly out of favor? Well, that's pretty much the point. Developers of multiplayer fantasy games are going to have a tough time either going public or raising money in this cold market environment.
This makes it an ideal time for IAC to enter the field, or to acquire an established player as a cost-effective way to get a foothold into a market it clearly covets. Buying into a company with an established audience will make it that much easier to funnel it into the company's future Chinese site launches.
It bet too early on a laggard in eLong. Now it has a chance to make a late bet on an out-of-favor leader. I like IAC's chances better with that strategy, and so should you.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story, though he has been a freelance contributor to IAC's CitySearch in the past. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.