China Internet Corp. (CIC), a Hong Kong-based firm that owns the Hongkong.com, China.com and Taiwan.com portals, has licensed out the right to use the Taiwanese domain to a local CD-ROM firm, CMC Magnetics Corp., according to industry sources.
CMC Magnetics is expected to announce plans to redevelop the ‘Taiwan.com’ portal sometime this month.
However, CIC staff are keeping tight-lipped about the deal.
A company spokesperson told InternetNews that “Taiwan.com is owned and operated by China.com Corporation.” (China.com is a subsidiary of CIC.)
With its expected IPO bid this year, the move is consistent with CIC’s attempts to reinvent itself.
The company is partially owned by the Chinese government’s official news organization, Xinhua, and has been somewhat tarnished by its ties to Beijing.
This is particularly the case in Taiwan, where CIC’s presence has not had a good reception.
“This seems to be an attempt to create a ‘kindler and gentler’ CIC, which is an image many say the company could clearly use,” said an industry observer.”Allowing a Taiwan company to run the Taiwan.com portal site would go along with this strategy.”
However, as the source pointed out, CMC, a company with no previous Internet or media experience, is a peculiar choice to run the portal.
“My guess is we’ll still see evidence of CIC having a significant role in the Taiwan.com portal site,” said the source.
CIC’s other Internet businesses and ventures include Web Connection, 24/7 Media Asia, and AOL Hong Kong.