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Acer, GE Announce E-Com Joint Venture

Acer Digital Services Corp., the Internet unit of Acer Group, Taiwan's biggest computer maker, and GE Information Services Inc. (GEIS), the electronic commerce unit of General Electric, announced a $14 million business-to-business e-commerce joint venture.

The new company, Ch'i-Ch'i Asia E-commerce Services Co., will initially be 85 percent owned by Acer. GEIS said it plans to boost its holding from 15 percent to 49 percent within three years.

The venture will utilize GEIS's existing e-commerce infrastructure, and aims to become Asia's largest e-commerce software provider within two or three years. Localization and customization will be major selling points.

The software to be sold by the new company is targeted at customers in supply-chain manufacturing, distribution and logistics, as well as those retailing and financial services. Electronic catalog services will be offered in the near future.

GEIS is currently the world's largest provider of business-to-business e-commerce services. The company has already formed partnerships with two Taiwanese firms which will provide technological services, and has invested a total of $30 million in a number of e-commerce ventures in East Asia.

"Asia's export-oriented economies are most suitable and most ideal for business-to-business software," said Ignatius Wei, national executive for GE International Taiwan Inc. and vice president of GEIS for the Asia-Pacific region. "Even though the uptake of electronic commerce in Asia has just started, its immense population and business growth potential may allow electronic commerce growth to surpass Europe and the USA."

Last year, 15 percent of GEIS's worldwide revenue of us$700 million was derived from Asia.

Acer Digital, established in the third quarter of 1999, has already invested in several local and overseas Internet-related businesses such as educational software developer Interserv, search-engine Web site Tornado, and ISP PAGIC Net.



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