RealTime IT News

chinadotcom Inks E-C Alliance, Hits 2 Million User Mark

chinadotcom corp. Tuesday continued its dealmaking binge with a pan-Asia retail alliance, fresh on the heels of a new user base milestone.

chinadotcom's (CHINA) newest support beam for its pan-Asia "build, distribute, sell" strategy comes in the form of an three-way joint venture alliance with The BigStore.com and China Commerce Development Group. The Hong Kong-based portal player took a 7 percent stake in The BigStore.com, and will end up with a 20 percent holding in The BigStore.com Asia.

The BigStore.com Asia, which will launch in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, plans to offer online shopping in the local language of each country in which it operates. Products on the offering are expected to include books, music, electronics, and computers, among others.

The storefront will first become available to chinadotcom portals, with gradual rollout to other countries.

"We are working with companies that have proven and highly successful track records in the US and are adapting the services offered by those brands to Asian consumers," said Ian Henry, president of china.com's international operations.

Henry added that chinadotcom expects to get enhanced e-tail capacity in Asia through the deal, while The BigStore.com said it sees gains from chinadotcom's brand, presence and regional expertise. He added that consumers can expect shipping cost cuts with merchandise shipped from within Asia.

chinadotcom corp. Monday announced it has reached a total of 2 million registered users on its Greater China portal network. This figure represents a five-fold increase from June 1999, when the site had 400,000 registered users.

This company attributes the achievement to its marketing program and recent acquisitions such as Info@ge.com, iConcept.net, as well as the establishment of a majority-owned joint venture with Accton Technology Ltd. to create e-Direct.

In a recent report, Rajeev Gupta of Goldman Sachs, said that the company's business model "offers a portal network including value-added features, such as chat rooms, homepage builders, mailing lists, personalized portals, and message boards, that increase user stickiness and customer satisfaction."

Gupta also said that chinadotcom has added vertical channels for news sports, entertainment, music, technology, and for local markets.

The company has more than 800 employees in 21 offices across 10 Asian markets, including Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, as well as five offices and more than 200 employees in mainland China.

Major shareholders include America Online Inc., Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Nortel Network Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., New World Infrastructure Ltd. and 24/7 Media Inc.