Further portal takeovers are expected in Asia Pacific following the recent buyout of China portal Myrice.com by Lycos Asia for nearly US$13 million. Research firm International Data Corp (IDC) predicts more consolidation in the portal industry next year. Singapore-based IDC Internet analyst Douglas Jaffe expects three to five key portals will survive in each nation, with Taiwan, South Korea and Australia supporting a few more. Advertising revenues are falling, e-commerce sales are puny, and stock market sentiment is gloomy. Most portals were bleeding cash and nowhere near profitability, Mr Jaffe concluded. 'As cash supplies dwindle, it is going to get ugly out there, and there is no cheaper cologne than desperation. There is going to be a serious consolidation in 2001, and most portals should not count on a saviour coming to the rescue, no matter how sweet they smell,' Mr Jaffe said. The weak stock market sentiment meant bigger portals could no longer use their stock options to buy smaller ones, Mr Jaffe concluded. Web traffic measurement firm NetValue ranked Myrice as the mainland's sixth-largest portal. The combined visits of Myrice and Lycos' own site would make the Lycos Asia family of sites the 12th most-popular property in China, drawing about 20 per cent of all surfers. However, analysts agree the success of Lycos, even with purchase of Myrice, remains in doubt. Mr Jaffe said Asian living standards and corporate maturity needed to develop for a few more years before non-advertising revenue streams would make an impact.