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Asia Online Raises $100 Million In New Funding

Asia-Pacific Internet business solutions provider Asia Online has raised a record AUS$100 million (US$60 million) in new investment from a consortium of technology and investment companies.

Paribas Affaires Industrielles (PAI) leads the group of investors, which include ABN AMRO Capital Investment Asia, Dell Computer, CIBC, Hikari Tsushin, MF Private Capital, Paine Webber, and the Systex Capital Group.

These companies will join existing shareholders to fund further regional expansion by Asia Online. This includes plans to increase the company's intellectual capital, develop and integrate new products and create unique intellectual property. These projects will focus on delivering to the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) market.

Asia Online will use these business initiatives to aid its push to become an SME Application Service Provider (ASP) in the Asia Pacific market.

At the Asia Online "vision of Australia's e-future" launch, president and CEO Kevin Randolph said the investment demonstrated faith in the company's ability to deliver.

"As any veteran of the technology start-ups will tell you, the trick to winning the backing of 'smart money' investors is to show them that you can deliver and have delivered, not just promise delivery," said Randolph.

The breadth of new investors means Asia Online now has allies in Europe, Japan, Taiwan, The USA and Canada, in addition to its ties to existing investors.

Through a strategic push into northern Asia and prospective acquisitions in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, Asia Online is looking to achieve a branded presence in all Asia Pacific markets, to deliver its services to the region's SMEs.

The company also launched its quick-start for SMEs service today, which provides a suite of services covering the four stages of e-enablement.

The 'First Steps' program provides a structured path into business-to-business and business-to-consumer solutions with Internet access, Web site design and hosting, e-business infrastructure and application systems, and system integration to maintain this infrastructure.