(Yicai Global) Jan. 15 -- Autohome's shares plunged 13.8 percent after several major dealerships cut their links with China's largest car sales and information platform.
At the beginning of the year, the site's Beijing-based operator said it would increase the cost of website diversions for major dealers. After that Zhongsheng Group Holdings, Yuntong Auto, Yongda Automobiles Services Holdings, Pang Da Automobile Trade and others severed ties with it, citing the price hike and a decline in customer conversions from the site. Other dealers are likely to follow suit this week.
Car dealers also came under intense pressure last year after overall vehicle sales fell 2.8 percent, the first annual decline since 1990.
Autohome's partners should open rational talks instead of shunning it without any communication, Chairman Lu Min said on WeChat. She didn't say whether the company would discuss the price increase with them.
Its stock [NYSE:ATHM] closed at USD67.49 yesterday, recovering from an intraday low of USD66.60.
Autohome, which has 33 million daily active users and tens of thousands of 4S shop dealers, derives its income mainly from advertising and dealer memberships. Revenue from media services and marketing services for dealers both jumped over 20 percent to CNY901.3 million (USD133.3 million) and CNY739.3 million, respectively, in the third quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, according to company figures.