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chinadotcom Adds E-Commerce Services

chinadotcom Tuesday announced plans to offer free e-commerce services to small and mid-size businesses throughout Hong Kong, Taiwan and China through its new partnership with ClickThings.

As part of the deal, chinadotcom (CHINA) will invest $5 million into the joint venture, dubbed ClickThings Asia.

The venture first plans to roll out its e-commerce suite to businesses in Hong Kong, in partnership with hongkong.com, a chinadotcom property. Hongkong.com will double as ClickThings China's first sponsor, promoting the service to its 1 million subscribers. The site expects the move to raise traffic by building name recognition through its presence on customer Web sites and by pursuing integrated promotions, as well as revenue splits for banner advertising and Web hosting with ClickThings China.

"ClickThings China will make it easy for small businesses to create and manage Websites through simple point-and-click interfaces, industry-specific content, design combinations, resources such as photo libraries and telephone and Web-based customer service support - all developed specifically for users in Greater China," said Ed Hsu, chief technology officer of chinadotcom corp.

The Web site creation service is expected to be available to the Hong Kong audience in an English-language version by this summer. Joint venture operations will begin in Hong Kong, but business and hosting sections will expand to Taiwan and China.

While ChickThings will expand its U.S. portfolio this year to include extranet and other business services, no mention was made of when these components would be available to the Asian market.