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BOL Primes B2C Online Book Sales in Asia

Bertelsmann Online (BOL) this week announced its maiden voyage into the Asian online book market, with an umbrella site covering the Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysian markets.

BOL is expanding into Asia in two phases--in Phase 1, Asian customers will have access to a spin-off site from BOL U.K., which features over 1.5 million book titles.

BOL says that its shipments from the U.K. will make it faster as well as less expensive for Asian customers to receive, giving them an edge over other online book-sellers.

Prices will initially be in British pounds, with a pop-up converter for customers to calculate prices in their own currency.

Also in phase 1, BOL will promote a range of books specifically targeted at the Hong Kong market which will be offered at up to 50 percent discount.

In phase 2, expected to complete by the end of the year, BOL will offer prices in local currency, and intends to increase the stock range to include local language books.

Alexander Broich, managing director of BOL UK will be responsible for the Hong Kong store. Speaking about the launch, Broich said, "Moving into Hong Kong is an exciting and important step for us, and I am delighted that BOL will be the first international company to offer an online book store tailored to the local market".

BOL online shops in six European countries offer a database of 4.5 million book titles and 500,000 music CDs, and were rated in an independent Forrester Research study as one of the top three e-commerce services in Europe.

Parent company Bertelsmann is in its 165th year and has 65,000 employees worldwide.

BOL has also announced plans to expand to the Japanese market in the second quarter.



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