RealTime IT News

NBCi Enters Pacific Rim with New Joint Venture

NBC Internet Inc. and Asiacontent.com Ltd. Thursday inked a joint venture deal to create local portals and Net services in the region.

NBCi (NBCI) and Asiacontent.com will create the local portals in Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, as well as other unspecified destinations. Asiacontent.com will take the controlling 65 percent of the venture, while NBCi will hold the remaining 35 percent. NBCi will also take a minority stake in Asiacontent.com through the deal.

Services in the offering will include community sites, e-commerce and combined content, and expect the new country versions to begin operation over the next several months. The sites will rely on NBCi content and technology in combination with services provided by Asiacontent.com and local companies in each country.

The two companies will not stop at the Pacific Rim; NBCi says to expect additional sites to be launched in Asia and the Pacific over the next year.

NBCi is calling the move a progression from its successful localization of Xoom.com in Italy and France.

Chris Kitze, NBCi's chief executive officer, said the partnership is expected to bring the company a "strong foothold in these emerging Pacific Internet markets... as we continue to turn worldwide Internet users into Internet shoppers, building on our successful initiatives in Italy and France."

Asiacontent.com is the regional content partner for a ranging list of U.S. companies, including a deal with CNET (CNET) for an Asia joint venture announced just yesterday. The company also partnered with DoubleClick (DCLK) for its Asia venture. Asiacontent.com was launched in May of last year, and has received investments from Viacom, GE Equity, Hambrecht & Quist Asia Pacific, Intel Pacific Inc., MTV Networks and W.R.Hambrecht & Co, among others.

NBCi commenced its much-anticipated combined operations just two months ago, when it melded Snap, Xoom.com and other NBC properties into one company. NBC owns a 47.3 percent stake in NBCi.