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Online Newspaper Closes in Taiwan

[February 22] Taiwan's first online newspaper, tTimes.com.tw Wednesday announced it has ceased operations, as the company failed to raise sufficient funding to continue.

Launched two years ago, on February 21, 1999, tTimes.com.tw was the first online publication providing daily news and information.

With 200 reporters and 100 technicians and executive members, its staff was the largest burden for the company. But tTimes.com.tw last year generated only a total of NT$60 million (US$1.85 million) in revenue through advertising and content distribution.

Although tTimes.com.tw founder Chan Hsiung-chi denied rumors in January about the company being acquired by Hong Kong's media group Next Media, Chan admitted the company was seeking investors. He added tTimes.com.tw's cash on hand could support its operations until June 2001.

tTimes.com.tw reported a total net loss of NT$300 million (US$9.27 million) and the company is expected to spend an additional NT$140 million (US$4.4 million) for closing its operations.

Chan admitted the company's business model and the tightening venture capital market were the major reasons for its failure. He added most employees were recommended to join Hong Kong's media tycoon Jimmy Lai's new media group in Taiwan.



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