RealTime IT News

International Briefs

IDC Survey: Asia's Leading Companies Racing Onto the Web
According to a recent survey conducted by market research firm IDC Asia/Pacific, 75 percent of the largest 1,000 companies in Asia, ranked by sales revenue, have established a presence on the World Wide Web.

The figure represents a 57 percent rise since the last survey was conducted in October 1997. IDC said that, in comparison, 81 percent of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees have Web sites.

(Web Vision, India; July 4, 1998)

Iran Mulls Over Opening Gates To the Internet
Iran's Expediency Council, comprising senior government officials who advise Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has begun discussing the implications of the Net in Iran.

"What we started today, as advisers to the leadership, was a discussion of general policies on the domestic use of the Internet for useful exploitation of it and predictions to prevent its possible detrimental effects," said Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president and now head of the council. E-mail services have been available to Iranians since 1995. Radio and television outlets have introduced multimedia Web sites. Last May, the swearing-in ceremony for Iran's President Mohammad Khatami was Webcast live.

(Reuters News Agency; June 28, 1998)

Australian Brewing Group Foster's Launches Online Sales; Exports Next
Australian brewing group Foster's will move strongly into online wine sales, when it takes its popular mail order wine club onto the Web.

Cellarmasters, purchased last year by Foster's Brewing Group subsidiary Mildara Blass, will join a number of smaller wine and spirits merchants already on the Internet. Cellarmasters hopes to convert 20 percent of its sales (currently around $100 million annually) to the Web by 2000, according to marketing communications manager Paul Williams.

Future plans include Internet export sales, using the overseas wine business to ship the goods according to individual countries' legal requirements.

(The Australian Financial Review; June 27, 1998)

Japanese Authorisation Agency to Lead Asia in Issuing SET Certificates
Sapporo-based CyberTrust Japan has been named an issuer of electronic certificates for holders of Visa and MasterCard credit cards under the SET 1.0 specification; the electronic authorisation service company is the first in Asia to secure the rights.

Sumitomo Credit Service plans to begin using the SET protocol to settle transactions at virtual malls this summer. CyberTrust Japan will be in charge of issuing the required certificates.

(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan; June 27, 1998)

Internet Expected to Boost PC Penetration in India
Computer penetration has increased to 1.8 per thousand in 1997-98 from 1.53 per thousand in 1996-97, according to a survey conducted by the Indian Market Research Bureau for the Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology.

800,000 desktops were bought during the year, in addition to 28,750 notebooks and 25,490 servers. The corporate sector accounted for 80 percent of desktop sales. The household sector is expected to see significant growth once the policy allowing private ISPs to operate is announced.

(Press Trust of India; June 25, 1998)

Online News, Entertainment Service Planned For Jordanian Audience
Arabia.On.Line and Global One are to introduce a joint news, community and e-commerce service in Jordan early August.

Called Baladna, the service will provide news coverage and hourly updates on current affairs in Jordan and the region. Stock quotes, a business guide, classifieds and information about hotels and car rental outlets are also planned. An entertainment guide will feature theatre attractions, a TV guide, lectures, and a calendar of events. Users will also be able to build home pages and create their own virtual communities.

In the initial stage, Baladna's e-commerce will be linked to Arabia.On.Line's Shopping Channel, Arabiashop, giving users a host of merchandise such as books, CDs, hardware and software.

(The Star, Jordan; June 25, 1998)

Clothing: Most Popular Category For Online Shopping Worldwide
America On Line recently found clothing to be the most popular category among its 15 million subscribers. Analysts estimate the Internet clothing market to be worth about $100 million a year.

The success of The Gap's online store in the U.S. has prompted it to launch the service worldwide. Healthcare and auctions are expected to become important areas for cyberspace shoppers in the future. For e-commerce merchants, however, success on the Web does not come cheaply. Companies with strong brands may appeal to the Internet portal groups, but less well-known names are more likely to have to pay for exposure.

(Financial Times, Britain; June 24, 1998)

South African Ad Industry Lost At Sea On The World Wide Web
There are two vital areas where South African ad agencies are sorely lacking in the world of the Web: incorporating Web sites into media planning and into ad campaigns and understanding the complexity of Web measurement techniques.

Eighty percent of all advertising on the Internet in South Africa is placed directly by the client with the online publisher, as opposed to being booked through an agency. New online ad brokerages are cutting into this turf, such as Oracle Online, RealMedia and WebAds, which offer banner ad serving and measurement technology.

(Weekly Mail and Guardian, South Africa; June 24, 1998)

Internet Gains More Relevance In Asian Economic Crisis
Speaking at a recent summit in Australia, the managing director of Pacific Internet Indonesia, Shanti Poesposoetjipto, said the key thrust for Indonesia--being an archipelago country--is obtaining a good and reliable integrated nationwide distribution and communications system.

"Electronic commerce is not yet in Indonesia, but Indonesia has started to build the infrastructural base to accommodate electronic commerce," said Poesposoetjipto.

The country was installing digital microwave for backbone purposes to assist its growth. It had become a question of survival for many companies to find more efficient ways of doing business via technologies like the Web. The communications infrastructure would play a large part in this.

(The Australian; June 23, 1998)

Japanese Securities Houses Step Up Offerings of Online Brokerage
Internet-based brokerage services, already common in the U.S., are increasingly being offered by Japanese securities houses in an effort to maintain an edge amid the heightened competition brought on by the financial Big Bang.

The recent announcement of the tie-up between U.S.-based E*Trade and Softbank, has created a stir in the fledgling industry. Takao Saga, senior analyst at Japan Securities Research Institute, predicted that online brokering will become a mainstream business in the next few years. Since April 1996, when Daiwa Securities, the second-largest Japanese brokerage, launched its Internet service, 10 securities houses have followed suit.

(Nikkei Weekly, Japan; June 22, 1998)