RealTime IT News

International Briefs

May 7

IBM Rolls Out Aggressive E-Business Launch in Asia

IBM recently launched ONEWeb in Singapore, a one-stop solution for small and medium-sized enterprises looking to quickly get involved in the emerging e-business market.

IBM also implemented a Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) system for Citibank in Singapore and a Net commerce system for NTUC FairPrice, a large retail chain with over 60 shops in Singapore. In Indonesia, IBM launched a Net banking service for Lippo Bank, in addition to an intranet for Bank Papan.

The Japanese hotel chain, Hotel Okura, has set up an Extranet linking its 23 hotels, partners, and customers around the world using IBM solutions; it also links to overseas travel agencies.

IBM technology has also enabled Dacom, South Korea's second largest telecom, to function as a Net payment gateway, with security based on SET.

In India, Tata-IBM president Mukesh Aghi said one of its early clients, Asea Brown Boveri, could reduce the drawing approval cycle at its Durgapur plant by 50 percent.

(Singapore Business Times, April 27; Press Trust of India, April 21, 1998).

Sterling Commerce Launches Regional E-Commerce Node in India

U.S.-based $450 million company Sterling Commerce has set up an e-commerce node, called Commerce Exchange, at the Chennai premises of its Indian partner Satyam InfoWay, to manage its regional e-commerce traffic.

Outside the U.S., this is the second such node for Sterling, the other being in Canada.

"We have about 4,000 nodes in 110 countries. Our customers who are over 20,000 in number use this network mainly for business to business e-commerce transactions," said Colin Campbell, Director, International Marketing, Commerce Services Group.

The Commerce Exchange can be accessed with a local call from 12 cities in India, which is expected to go up to 15 cities by August.

(Business Line, India; April 24, 1998)

Study Shows Half of Australian Web Sites Do Not Communicate Effectively

According to a study conducted by the Australian Multimedia Testing Centre and Performance Technologies, as many as 44 percent of Australian Web sites fail to communicate their business message clearly.

The study used criteria such as ease of navigation, consistency, information organisation, technical structure, and technical performance to produce an overall useability rating.

Over half of the pages reportedly suffered from inadequate navigational design and inconsistent design within the entire site.

The AMTC is a body set up to test and improve the potential of the Australian multimedia industry. The Centre plans to continue to test Australian Web sites every six months.

(Inet.com Magazine, Australia; April 28, 1998)

New Asian Site Provides Financial News, Investment Services

Founded in Britain in 1995, Interactive Investor, an international online financial information service provider, launched a Web site in Hong Kong tailored for individual investors' needs.

The site provides the latest corporate news and information from thousands of sources in the Asia-Pacific, and features performance histories of over 6,000 offshore funds from over 50 financial centres worldwide.

Key sources of the latest financial news include AFX-ASIA, Financial Times Magazine, MAID/Knight Ridder, daily news summary of the Asian press, and investment information from Benchmark Magazine.

(Hong Kong Standard; April 23, 1998)

South African Internet Surveys: Users in Favour of Online Shopping

The 1998 Web User Survey, conducted by South Africa Online and published by Media Africa, reveals that the typical South African user of the Net is around 35, urban, educated, well-off, uses Windows 95, and accesses the Internet every day.

These figures correlated closely with the results of the BMI-TechKnowledge ISP Audit for March 1998, which showed that 44% of users fall in the 25-34 age group, and 34% in the 35-49 age group; the percentage of female users is 19% in 1998.

A hefty 43% of Web users have already made a purchase online in the past, and 89% of Web users said they intended using the Web for making purchases in the future.

(Weekly Mail and Guardian, South Africa; April 23, 1998)

CNN Launches Japan Mirror Site, Portuguese News Site

CNN Interactive launched Asian mirror sites for its news and financial sites located in Japan--japan.cnn.com and japan.cnnfn.com--and its eighth Web site, CNN em Portugues.

The sites represent CNN's commitment to the exploding Internet markets in Japan and Brazil, an official said.

The Japan mirrors are hosted by Internet Multifeed, a joint venture of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ), and 18 other companies.

(Newsbytes Pacifica; April 22, 1998)

Thai Version of Internet Explorer 4.0 Now Available

Microsoft Thailand released the Thai version of its Internet Explorer 4.0 Web browser.

Special features of IE 4.0 Thai include Explorer Bars for Thai word searching, NetMeeting for live audio-visual conferencing, and Front Page Express for Web site authoring.

(Bangkok Post; April 22, 1998)

16 Prospective ISPs Apply for License in Indian Market

India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sold 230 to 250 ISP licence applications since early March, with 16 companies actually applying to become ISPs.

They include AT&T, British Telecom, MCI, Motorola, Compuserve, Bharti BT, Sprint RPG, Datapro, Icnet, HCL, Fujitsu ICIM, Satyam Infoway, Allent Technologies, Bharti Telecom, and the state-owned CMC.

Other companies like Microsoft, PCL, IBM, Infosys and Tata Unisys have reportedly expressed interest in setting up Internet access services.

(Business Standard, India; April 27, 1998)