HKT’s ISP Builds Up Pace For IPO With New China Portal

For the third anniversary of its ISP unit, Interactive Multimedia Services
(IMS), Hongkong Telecom (HKT) stepped up
the pace with the introduction of its new Chinese portal and plans to
develop the Web site into a portal for Greater China.

IMS, branded as Netvigator, is Hong Kong’s largest ISP with 330,000
subscribers.

In the last few months, HKT has been increasing the international exposure
of its ISP by regular announcements regarding new services, acquisitions,
and partnerships. Industry analysts speculate that Netvigator is in the run
for a listing on NASDAQ in the United States.

“With our leading Internet services and
technology, Netvigator is working towards bringing together Chinese
communities across the world and connecting them to the information world
of the new millennium,” said Allen Ma, CEO of HKT’s Interactive Multimedia Services, regarding
the new face of its portal.

“The launch of the enhanced Netvigator.com demonstrates our determination
in taking the global lead as a provider of Chinese Net content and
services,” added Ma.

Ma indicated that IMS planned to be offering both traditional and
simplified character versions of the portal by the third quarter to target
Greater China. Currently, Netvigator is featured in traditional characters
which is only suitable for Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The aim of IMS is to have the top Chinese portal in the world by the end of
the year.

For content and services, HKT’s provider plans to spend HK$1 billion
(US$130 million) over the next 3 years.

Last year, Netvigator launched the SAR’s first broadband Internet access
service, the consumer-targeted Supernetvigator, and an interactive
television service, iTV.

Critics point out that the service hasn’t really caught on with only 12,000
customers signed up.

However, Netvigator is now offering a 1.5 M broadband service to the
business sector on a trial basis.

To cover this sector on its LAN-based broadband service, Ma said, “It’s
just a matter of adding capacity. There is no feasible limitation on
bandwidth. Hongkong Telecom has the largest ATM network in the world.”

Regarding HKT’s role in Hong Kong’s technological future, Ma stated, “We
are committed to strengthening Hong Kong’s position as the leading
information city in Asia.”

“Hongkong Telecom will do this by nurturing the Internet culture here,
extending broadband network coverage and developing more value-added
Internet services for customers, together with specific solutions for the
business and education communities,” he said.

Recently, the Hong Kong Internet Service Provider’s Association (HKISPA) blasted HKT for
anti-competitive tactics as the largest fixed network provider and called
upon the SAR Government to take action.

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