RealTime IT News

Internet Set To Shake Up Auto Industry In Japan

The Japanese automobile market seems set for some turbulence, now that U.S. online auto-sales operation Autobytel.com is seeking a partner for business in Japan.

Founded in 1995, Autobytel.com has contracts with 2,800 U.S. auto dealers and sold 250,000 new cars in 1997. Pete Ellis, the company's founder and primary shareholder, is confident that the company can project about the same level of consumer interest in Japan as in the U.S.

Competitors include Connecticut-based Cendant, which recently established Cendant Japan Co. in partnership with Mitsubishi. Other leading online car-sales operators such as Autoweb.com are also reportedly interested in the Japanese market.

Thai Board of Investment Uses Web to Attract Foreign Investors
Thailand's Board of Investmentsaid its Web site has been an effective tool in attracting foreign investors to Thailand.

Director Thamrong Mahajchariyawong said half the site traffic consists of foreigners, the target audience. The site provides information on doing business in Thailand, business statistics, new investment promotion policies, and BoI publications like BoI Investment Review and Thailand Update.

Information is published in English, Japanese and French, and will soon include Chinese.

(Bangkok Post; October 14, 1998)

CompuServe to Continue In Asia-Pacific Despite AOL's Regional Launch
Fujitsu Australia's franchise to run the CompuServe online service in Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN countries continues unchanged, despite AOL's acquisition of CompuServe.

Compuserve Pacific has operated from Fujitsu Australia's headquarters in Sydney since 1991 and has about 35,000 subscribers.

"The AOL launch in Australia is not a big impact on us because we serve the sophisticated consumers," said CompuServe Pacific's manager of member services and support John Tunkunas.

(Sydney Morning Herald; October 13, 1998)

Internet Picks Up Steam In Czech Republic
There are about 533,000 Web pages on the Czech top-level domain (.cz), as compared to Hungary (with 300,000 sites), Poland (370,000 sites) and Slovakia (135,000 sites).

The Web is already being used locally as an advertising medium by major players such as Expandia Banka, IBM, RadioMobil and Sony.

Vladimir Zeman, director of a leading Czech media agency, Media Direction, compared Web advertising to print-based advertising in the early 1990s.

"There are about 16,000 domains currently registered under the top-level domain '.cz'," says Richard Koza, director of ISP Czech Net. Popular servers include seznam.cz, Muj Web and Trafika. E-commerce is still based on cash-on-delivery payments.

(Internet magazine, Britain; October 9, 1998)

New Zealand Chartered Accountants to Launch Web-Based Services
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand (ICANZ), the country's largest professional organisation, plans to launch an Internet presence on November 9.

ICANZ has 27,000 members and 22 branches, and wants to streamline communication with its members. The site will contain news, information about courses and the services ICANZ offers, qualifications for becoming an accountant, and the rules of the institute.

Further down the track the institute will look at electronic commerce, online registration and online chat.

(InfoTech Weekly, New Zealand; October 19, 1998)

Net Becoming a Popular Conduit For News In South Pacific
The Internet is becoming a popular conduit for news among Pacific Islanders, especially since last November when a cyclone swept over the remote Cook Island atoll of Manihiki.

The growing popularity of the Internet is despite the very high cost of the service, provided in most Pacific states by the monopoly state-owned telcos.

The journalism programme at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, provides an e-mail news service and Web site focusing mainly on Pacific politics, development and media freedom issues. The two daily newspapers in Papua New Guinea are now online.

(Agence France Presse; October 9, 1998)

Indian Police Officers to Be Taught Courses On Cybercrimes
India's Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (NPA), the centralised training institution for Indian Police Service (IPS) recruits, will introduce a full-fledged course on 'cyber crimes' for senior IPS officers next year.

The course is aimed at preparing police personnel to tackle computer-related crimes which are expected to become widespread as Internet usage in India picks up steam.

The academy is expected to get its own leased line for Internet access shortly. It will introduce an online forum next year.

(Business Line, India; October 18, 1998)

HP, Netscape Ramp Up High-End Service Offerings For Asian ISPs
In the wake of further liberalisation of Singapore's ISP market, Hewlett-Packard and Netscape are offering solutions to existing and new ISPs in the region to enable them to provide value-added services.

HP is targeting ISPs upgrading to a class of operations with the high quality, scale and reliability of telecommunication carriers. Netscape Asia South managing director Ramesh Nava estimated that 20 to 30 per cent of ISPs in the region will move up the value chain, and these are the ISPs Netscape is targeting.

Netscape is anticipating some major wins from ISPs in India, the Philippines and Indonesia.

(Singapore Business Times; October 19, 1998)

KPMG Conducts E-Commerce Survey In Europe
The first annual survey of e-commerce in larger European and Scandinavian countries undertaken for KPMG, the management consultancy, showed that over half the 500 companies interviewed believed the Internet was vital to their global competitiveness.

The companies surveyed are at present conducting an average of 1 per cent of their sales on the Internet, and expected this to rise to 10 per cent by 2001, and to 17 per cent in 2003.

The passage of the year 2000 computer bug problem and introduction of the euro will free up company resources to concentrate on the Internet. Personal computer penetration, as well as the advent of interactive services via television, will stimulate consumer demand.

(Financial Times, Britain; October 16, 1998)

Mozambique News Agency Launches Web Site
The Mozambique News Agency (AIM) has now launched its Web site.

AIM director Ricardo Malate announced that the AIM site will publish daily news in English and Portuguese.

"Visitors to the AIM page who wish to receive the full versions of our news items, will have to subscribe to the service, and sign a contract with AIM, which will give them the requisite password," he said.

The site also has an opinion page through which visitors to the site can comment on AIM's work, or debate current events in Mozambiqan politics or economics.

(Pan African News Agency; October 17, 1998)

Tributes to Jon Postel Flow From Around The World
Jon Postel, 55, chairman of the Internet Assigned Number Authority, the government-contracted agency that oversees the domain name system, died on October 16 after heart surgery in Los Angeles.

Condolence messages flowed from around the world. "When Marconi died, the entire world observed two minutes radio silence," wrote Nigel Roberts, administrator of the Channel Islands Domain Name Registry on a mailing list devoted to the future of Internet governance. "I feel [turning our site black] is the least [I] could do."

The Network Information Center for the Chilean country code domain has also turned its page black, and others around the world are expected to follow suit in tribute.

(Reuters news agency; October 20, 1998)

Australia Launches Major Health Industry Supply Chain Online
An online health industry supply chains is being launched by Australia's pharmaceutical electronic commerce & communication project (PECC).

Project director Pat Gallagher said the effort involves state government health departments, the Federal Government and Australia's $5 billion pharmaceutical industry.

He said the issue of interoperability across all networks was crucial if e-commerce initiatives were to really take-off in the health industry.

(Sydney Morning Herald; October 13, 1998)