International Briefs


IDC Survey: Asia’s Leading Companies Racing Onto the Web

According to a recent survey conducted by market research firm IDC
Asia/Pacific, 75 percent of the largest 1,000 companies in Asia, ranked by
sales revenue, have established a presence on the World Wide Web.


The figure represents a 57 percent rise since the last survey was conducted in October 1997. IDC said that, in comparison, 81 percent of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees have Web sites.


(Web Vision, India; July 4, 1998)


Iran Mulls Over Opening Gates To the Internet

Iran’s Expediency Council, comprising senior government officials who
advise Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has begun discussing the implications of the
Net in Iran.


“What we started today, as advisers to the leadership, was a
discussion of general policies on the domestic use of the Internet for
useful exploitation of it and predictions to prevent its possible
detrimental effects,” said Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president and
now head of the council. E-mail services have been available to Iranians
since 1995. Radio and television outlets have introduced multimedia Web
sites. Last May, the swearing-in ceremony for Iran’s President Mohammad
Khatami was Webcast live.


(Reuters News Agency; June 28, 1998)


Australian Brewing Group Foster’s Launches Online Sales; Exports Next

Australian brewing group Foster’s will move strongly into online wine
sales, when it takes its popular mail order wine club onto the Web.


Cellarmasters, purchased last year by Foster’s
Brewing Group subsidiary Mildara Blass, will join a number of smaller wine
and spirits merchants already on the Internet. Cellarmasters hopes to
convert 20 percent of its sales (currently around $100 million annually)
to the Web by 2000, according to marketing communications manager Paul
Williams.


Future plans include Internet export sales, using the overseas
wine business to ship the goods according to individual countries’ legal
requirements.


(The Australian Financial Review; June 27, 1998)


Japanese Authorisation Agency to Lead Asia in Issuing SET Certificates

Sapporo-based CyberTrust Japan has been named an issuer of electronic
certificates for holders of Visa and MasterCard credit cards under the SET
1.0 specification; the electronic authorisation service company is the
first in Asia to secure the rights.


Sumitomo Credit Service plans to begin
using the SET protocol to settle transactions at virtual malls this summer.
CyberTrust Japan will be in charge of issuing the required certificates.


(Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan; June 27, 1998)


Internet Expected to Boost PC Penetration in India

Computer penetration has increased to 1.8 per thousand in 1997-98 from 1.53
per thousand in 1996-97, according to a survey conducted by the Indian
Market Research Bureau for the Manufacturers’ Association for Information
Technology.


800,000 desktops were bought during the year, in addition to
28,750 notebooks and 25,490 servers. The corporate sector accounted for 80
percent of desktop sales. The household sector is expected to see
significant growth once the policy allowing private ISPs to operate is
announced.


(Press Trust of India; June 25, 1998)


Online News, Entertainment Service Planned For Jordanian Audience

Arabia.On.Line and Global One are to introduce a joint news, community and
e-commerce service in Jordan early August.


Called Baladna, the service will
provide news coverage and hourly updates on current affairs in Jordan and
the region. Stock quotes, a business guide, classifieds and information
about hotels and car rental outlets are also planned. An entertainment
guide will feature theatre attractions, a TV guide, lectures, and a
calendar of events. Users will also be able to build home pages and create
their own virtual communities.


In the initial stage, Baladna’s e-commerce
will be linked to Arabia.On.Line’s Shopping Channel, Arabiashop, giving
users a host of merchandise such as books, CDs, hardware and software.


(The Star, Jordan; June 25, 1998)


Clothing: Most Popular Category For Online Shopping Worldwide

America On Line recently found clothing to be the most popular category
among its 15 million subscribers. Analysts estimate the Internet clothing
market to be worth about $100 million a year.


The success of The Gap’s
online store in the U.S. has prompted it to launch the service worldwide.
Healthcare and auctions are expected to become important areas for
cyberspace shoppers in the future. For e-commerce merchants, however,
success on the Web does not come cheaply. Companies with strong brands may
appeal to the Internet portal groups, but less well-known names are more
likely to have to pay for exposure.


(Financial Times, Britain; June 24, 1998)


South African Ad Industry Lost At Sea On The World Wide Web

There are two vital areas where South African ad agencies are sorely
lacking in the world of the Web: incorporating Web sites into media
planning and into ad campaigns and understanding the complexity of Web
measurement techniques.


Eighty percent of all advertising on the Internet in South
Africa is placed directly by the client with the online publisher, as
opposed to being booked through an agency. New online ad brokerages are
cutting into this turf, such as Oracle Online, RealMedia and WebAds, which
offer banner ad serving and measurement technology.


(Weekly Mail and Guardian, South Africa; June 24, 1998)


Internet Gains More Relevance In Asian Economic Crisis

Speaking at a recent summit in Australia, the managing director of Pacific
Internet Indonesia, Shanti Poesposoetjipto, said the key thrust for
Indonesia–being an archipelago country–is obtaining a good and reliable
integrated nationwide distribution and communications system.


“Electronic commerce is not yet in Indonesia, but Indonesia
has started to build the infrastructural base to accommodate electronic
commerce,” said Poesposoetjipto.


The country was installing digital microwave for
backbone purposes to assist its growth. It had become a question of
survival for many companies to find more efficient ways of doing business
via technologies like the Web. The communications infrastructure would play
a large part in this.


(The Australian; June 23, 1998)


Japanese Securities Houses Step Up Offerings of Online Brokerage

Internet-based brokerage services, already common in the U.S., are
increasingly being offered by Japanese securities houses in an effort to
maintain an edge amid the heightened competition brought on by the
financial Big Bang.


The recent announcement of the tie-up between
U.S.-based E*Trade and Softbank, has created a stir in the fledgling
industry. Takao Saga, senior analyst at Japan Securities Research
Institute, predicted that online brokering will become a mainstream
business in the next few years. Since April 1996, when Daiwa Securities,
the second-largest Japanese brokerage, launched its Internet service, 10
securities houses have followed suit.


(Nikkei Weekly, Japan; June 22, 1998)

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