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RealTime IT News

IDC Releases Report On Latin American Internet Market

Based on 80 in-depth interviews with Latin America's top access providers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela, a study released by International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that the surveyed Internet access providers will spend up to US$6.3 million each in technology in 1998.

The combined planned 1998 technology investments of the surveyed access providers came to over US$390 million.

"Basic telephony costs remain the single largest inhibitor to greater growth in Internet usage in Latin America," said Annika Alford, research manager, IDC Latin America. Users in Latin America do not typically spend more than 22 hours, on average, per month on the Internet.

(Web Vision, India; September 18, 1998)

Singapore Gears Up To Become Hub for Global Chinese Internet Community
Singapore launched a national initiative to develop into an Internet hub for the Chinese language, plugging into a potential market of over one billion people worldwide.

Singapore is hosting the Chinese WebTop, also called HuaZong Wang, now available as a one-stop gateway to a vast array of Chinese Web sites in many areas, including finance, electronic commerce, news, government services, Chinese culture and comics.

Also as part of the initiative, Singapore will have a 2Mbps connection to China by the end of this year.

The goal for the next two years in Singapore is to have a fivefold increase in Chinese Internet content, a threefold increase in the number of publishers of Chinese Web sites and a threefold increase in companies using the Chinese Internet.

(Singapore Business Times; September 14, 1998)

E-Commerce Law Seminar To Be Held In Malaysia
The Licensing Executives Society Malaysia (LESM) is holding a seminar to explore the legal environment for e-commerce in Malaysia.

It will examine laws like the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions Act 1998.

"There needs to be awareness of laws implemented to regulate information technology based activities--especially those protecting the interests of businesses and individuals in the present digital era," said LESM president Michael Chia. The Digital Signature Act of Malaysia will come into effect on October 1.

(The Star, Malaysia; September 17, 1998)

Yahoo! To Face Competition From AOL, Excite in Australia, New Zealand
Yahoo! Australia and New Zealand experienced traffic growth of more than 20 per cent a month since it launched its local service a year ago.

It has now embarked on a marketing campaign to shore up its brand name in readiness for the imminent arrival of two other giant Internet players, AOL and Excite.

Yahoo! ANZ spokeswoman Nancie Pageau said Yahoo's campaign would involve displays on buses and trams in Sydney and Melbourne. She said traffic through the local site was growing at about 20 per cent.

(The Australian; September 17, 1998)

World Trade Organisation Urges Governments To Address E-Commerce
If world governments do not act now to lay the groundwork for global e-commerce, they could be caught in a morass of political self-interest and national regulations, according to Renato Ruggiero, director general of the World Trade Organisation.

A team of WTO economists estimated that by 2000, there will be more than 300 million Internet users worldwide, and electronic commerce will amount to roughly US$300 billion a year. Ruggiero is encouraging WTO members to take advantage of the potential and develop a framework for e-commerce before political differences multiply.

(Wired news; September 16, 1998)

British Newspaper To Unveil Online Book Shopping, New Content Features
A new look and an enhanced range of services await the 1 million registered users of Britain's Electronic Telegraph newspaper, including an online bookstore at a separate URL, Bookpages.

The upcoming revised edition will include new content, with daily features, daily news as well as magazines for education and European news. Bookpages, recently bought by Amazon.com, will fulfil orders taken through the site. The site draws between 45,000 and 50,000 people a day.

(Internet Magazine, Britain; September 16, 1998)

Thai Ministry Launches E-Commerce Project; Cyberlaws Expected Next
Thai laws on e-commerce are expected to be endorsed during the second half of next year to coincide with telecom privatisation, said Deputy Prime Minister Supachai Panichpakdi during a recent seminar on "Bringing New Dimensions to Thai Exporting with the Internet."

A one-year e-commerce pilot project has been launched by the Commerce Ministry, involving some 100 private companies. The Commerce Ministry is setting up three committees to handle electronic commerce: the Electronic Commerce Policy sub-committee, the Advisory Committee for Electronic Commerce and the Electronic Commerce Working Group.

(Bangkok Post; September 16, 1998)

Bank of New Zealand To Launch Internet Banking in 1999
The Bank of New Zealand plans to launch an Internet banking pilot project in 1999, followed closely by a nationwide launch and marketing campaign.

The service will be hosted by parent company National Australia Bank (NAB). Internet functions touted by NAB include transaction reporting, fund transfers, bill payments, opening term deposits and direct transmission of account information to customers' PC-based accounting software.

Three banks in New Zealand offer online banking services: ASB Online, Countrywide and Bank Direct.

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

Certification Service To Boost Internet Commerce In Japan
Japan Certification Services, a company established by Hitachi, Fujitsu and NEC in September 1997, is considered to be a key player in supporting the development of e-commerce via authentication and verification services.

The majority of commercial banks engaged in Internet-banking tests entrusted it to handle client confirmations. In October, Japan Certification plans to launch a service directed toward corporate intranets and extranets.

Although sales in its first year are projected to be only 200 million yen ($1.5 million), the company expects to turn a profit in its third year.

(Nikkei Weekly, Japan; September 14, 1998)

Indian Government Agency To Investigate Internet Taxation
A working group set up by India's Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is studying the issue of taxation of Internet transactions.

"How do tax authorities of a country invoke their jurisdiction to assess income which may arise as a result of a financial/commercial transaction which fructifies on the Internet?" asks a CBDT paper. "The Government of India will have tremendous cause for concern as Indians are today found to be excellent providers of computer software. If software is sold over the Web, India may have to face a very challenging situation vis-a-vis loss of tax," according to CBDT.

(Economic Times, India; September 14, 1998)

Sony To Promote New Canadian Artist Via Major Internet-Only Ad Campaign
Sony Music Canada is gambling on a major online-only marketing campaign to promote its latest artist, Melanie Doane.

A new album from Doane won't be in the Canadian stores until September 29, but Sony already launched its Web site and online contest.

Web banner ads promoting the artist's site are now running on Excite, Yahoo! Canada, music-oriented MuchMusic, the Weather Network Online and six other popular Canadian sites.

(Times of India; September 14, 1998)

Ariba, CommerceOne Fight For Online Procurement Market In U.S., Europe
Indirect procurement is now emerging as the virtual battleground for middleware companies.

Firms like Ariba Technologies, CommerceOne, GEIS, Sterling Commerce and IBM. AMD, the computer chip manufacturer which purchases $800 million worth of operating goods and services a year, is putting Ariba's application on 12,000 desktops and expects to save at least $24 million a year in doing so.

Ariba claims the savings for AMD will more than justify the $2.5 million project costs. Commerce One recently launched its European operation with a number of product demonstrations. Ariba is shortly to launch its presence in the European market place in direct competition with Commerce One.

(Financial Times, Britain; September 10, 1998)

China Launches Charity Site For Flood Victims
China's first charity auction Web site will be launched to collect funds from sales of the works of Chinese painters and calligraphers, as well as items provided by antique collectors, for China's flooded areas.

The Web site is being set up by the China Charity Foundation (CCF), Beijing Municipal Telegraph Bureau and Wisdom Science and Technology Enterprise.

(Xinhua News Agency, China; September 17, 1998)