China's leading anti-virus software provider Qihoo 360 Technology Co announced Thursday that it won a "big" order from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), a step analysts say could improve the reputation of its products but will likely have limited direct impact on its business revenue.
All of MOFCOM's departments have installed Qihoo 360 anti-virus software, which shows that the ministry recognizes the company's competitive edge, the software provider told the Global Times via e-mail Thursday.
Qihoo 360 has two types of anti-virus software. One is designed for corporate use, and Qihoo 360 charges a fee for it. The other is mainly designed for individuals, and is free.
Calls to MOFCOM received no reply by press time Thursday.
But one official at the ministry told the Global Times, speaking anonymously, that MOFCOM has already used Qihoo 360 software, and she finds it "good."
"I mainly use it for speeding up my computer and killing trojans," she said.
The total market for anti-virus software products designed for enterprises in China is around 200 million yuan ($32 million) to 300 million yuan, which is very small, and "the MOFCOM purchase is also not a big deal," Wang Zhantao, an anti-virus software expert at domestic search engine provider yunyun.com, told the Global Times Thursday.
"But the deal could boost consumer confidence in Qihoo 360's products," Wang said.
Qihoo 360 had offered services for a total of 420,000 enterprises by December 2012, the company told the Global Times.
The market for anti-virus software products for individuals is comparatively very large in China. Qihoo 360's two main products rank first and second among the top 10 domestic providers in terms of individual users, with 360 Safe Guard and 360 Anti-Virus averaging 369.35 million and 360.75 million users, respectively, each month in the first half of last year, according to data from Internet research firm iResearch.
"Our software designed for individuals will always be free," Qihoo 360 said.
Qihoo 360, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange in March of 2011, saw its net profits reach $12.9 billion in the third quarter of last year, up 18 percent compared with the previous quarter.
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