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RealTime IT News

International Briefs

Chinese Web Site Adds Comprehensive Search Engine
SinaNet.com, the premier Internet portal for Chinese users around the world, has launched a Chinese/English search engine that enables surfers to search all Chinese Web sites.

SinaSearch also incorporates a state-of-the art dictionary that translates English or Chinese search phrases. Surfers can use the 'traditional characters' standard used by Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries, and the 'simplified characters' standard used in mainland China.

SinaNet reports more than 40 million page views a month to 600,000 unique visitors.

(Web Vision, India; April 27, 1998)

French Versions of AOL, CompuServe to be Launched
Several European countries have recently got together to help promote Internet growth in France by launching French versions of both AOL and CompuServe.

AOL Europe is becoming an important force in the European ISP market, with over 950,000 subscribers.

The French telecoms market has only just been deregulated, in line with the rest of Europe.

(BoardWatch magazine; April 1998)

Internet Telephony Will Face Challenge in Developing Countries
Business fax transmissions and voicemail messages--not real-time voice conversations--will drive most of the growth in the use of Internet telephony in the next five years, according to a new study by SRI Consulting.

The total market for Internet telephony--including services, hardware and software--will grow to $9 billion in the next five years.

Most of the market will remain in North America, Europe, and Japan. In contrast, in many developing countries, Internet telephony faces a less friendly reception from regulators because it threatens to undermine a local-exchange carriers' ability to recoup recent network-infrastructure investments.

(Web Vision, India; April 24, 1998)

E-Commerce Summit Urges Australian Businesses to Embrace Net
The 2-day Enabling Australia E-Commerce Summit examined the current place of Australia in the global information economy, future directions, and practical considerations on business and regulatory strategies.

The summit featured speakers like Telstra CEO, Frank Blout, Australia Post Chair, Linda Nicolls, Senior Advisor on Policy Development to the U.S. President, Ira Magaziner, and the CEO of the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE).

Speakers stressed the need to develop a comprehensive skill base through secondary and tertiary education as well as business training.

"This issue is not just a business issue, this is not just a societal issue, this is a core economic issue for the early 21st century. As a country we need to come to terms with that, we need co-ordinate at a governmental level to ensure we have responses ready for it," Twomey said.

Magaziner said that Internet-related business now accounts for a staggering third of real growth in the U.S. economy.

(Sydney Morning Herald, April 21; I-Net Magazine, Australia, April 17, 1998)

European Commission Calls For Global Policing of Internet Crime
Greater international cooperation is essential to policing illegal activities on the Internet, a European Union official said at the 7th International World Wide Web Conference held in Australia.

Frans De Bruine, director of market information policies for the 15-nation EU commission, said some kind of international system is needed to pursue criminals who use the Internet for child pornography and other illegal activity.

"International cooperation is the only way out of it," he said.

(Associated Press; April 17, 1998)

E-Commerce Steadily Ramps Up in South Africa
Media Africa has embarked on an investigation titled "Birth of The Virtual Market: The 1998 South African Web Commerce Survey."

Online sales this year in South Africa are estimated at a billion rand. Dell Computers is currently turning over one million rand a week in online sales to South Africans.

But many vendors are succeeding in online sales without addressing security concerns. As long as established market leaders dismiss predictions of a burgeoning online market, they will not spot the rest of a new wave of companies learning how to generate turnover in this new economy, both in South Africa and internationally.

(Weekly Mail and Guardian, South Africa; April 15, 1998)

Japanese Company to Offer Supercomputer Access Via Internet
Japan's NEC Corporation has begun selling supercomputer services to overseas customers by allowing access to and use of an NEC supercomputer in Tokyo via the Internet.

The service enables NEC to sidestep prohibitive antidumping duties levied on NEC supercomputers in the U.S.

"When we conducted market research, we found demand for supercomputer use is likely to come not only from the U.S., but from other countries such as Australia and from Europe and South America, although half the customer demand for the new service will probably come from the U.S," an NEC official said.

Charges are estimated at 100 dollars an hour per CPU.

(Kyodo News Service, Japan; April 15, 1998)

New Zealand On "Right Track" in Internet Age
New Zealand is well placed to make a successful shift from primary production to an information-based economy, according to Victoria University's new chair of communications, Howard Frederick.

A U.S. citizen, Frederick was previously with the German Ministry for the Economy, jump-starting the information markets of the former East German state of Saxony.

He said New Zealand is far ahead of Germany in its quest to move toward an information-based economy of software, services, and knowledge.

"You need to liberalise and privatise the monopolies of information so that small and medium businesses can have access, and you need a political environment which for the most part stays hands off," he said.

Formerly at Peacenet, Frederick set up the first Internet link (via Canada) to Nicaragua while the Sandinista regime was in power, and utilised the Internet to galvanise opposition to the Gulf War.

(InfoTech Weekly, New Zealand; April 14, 1998)

Peruvian Network Typifies Internet Growth in Latin America
Founded in 1991 by a Peruvian reporter with a computer and three modems, the Peruvian Scientific Network has become a busy Internet center of information for Latin America.

It controls 75% of Peru's Internet connections, with 70,000 subscribers and 500,000 hits to its Web site. Services are offered in Spanish, English, and Quechua. Twenty seven public booths in several cities offer Internet access for $1 a day.

Every time disaster strikes Latin America, the Peruvian Scientific Network Web page becomes a meeting place for foundations and rescuers.

Despite limitations such as high phone costs, Internet use grew 788% between 1995 and 1997, according to a study done for Nazca S&S, the Latin American network of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

(Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News; April 13, 1998)

India's Export-Import Policy Available On Internet
India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), National Information Centre (NIC), and the Commerce Ministry have made export-import policy documents accessible via the Internet.

The site also includes appendices to the export-import procedures, policy highlights and Commerce Minister Ramakrishna Hegde's statement.

(Hindustan Times, India; April 13, 1998)

America Online Set for Beta Trial in Australia
Gearing up for a pre-Christmas debut, America Online's newly appointed Australian manager, John Cookson, said AOL Australia has nearly completed its initial network tests and within three weeks will begin a public "beta" trial.

"We are looking at a three-tier strategy of creating top-quality content for our packaged services for consumers right across Australia," Cookson said.

The strategies will include forging alliances with ISPs and local content providers. AOL Australia has a launch budget of between $27 million and $41 million, provided by its AOL International parent and global joint venture partner, Bertelsmann AG.

(Sydney Morning Herald; April 21, 1998)