International Briefs

E-Commerce Push Makes Asian Companies Embrace Internet

As response time becomes a bigger factor than low labor costs in keeping
major clients, especially in the U.S., Asian manufacturers of everything
from PCs to garments are under pressure to catch up with the electronic commerce revolution.

Whether it’s Wal-Mart or Hewlett-Packard, foreign customers now demand that their vendors, such as Taiwanese computer hardware company Lite-On Technology, cut delivery times.

General Electric Information Services (GEIS), which says Asia is the fastest-growing segment of its 40,000-client global e-commerce business, has opened service centers in Japan, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Korea.

(Business Week; April 20, 1998)

The Internet in Europe: Broadband Gap With U.S. Narrows

The U.S. is still ahead of Europe in the provision of broadband local
access services, but the gap will narrow later this year, according to a
report by London-based Datamonitor called “Next Generation Internet Access:
Breaking the Bandwidth Bottleneck.”

The European broadband access-services market, which will be based primarily on digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable modems, will grow to be worth $2 billion by 2000.

Much of the current interest in DSL is focused on the opportunity to speed up Internet access for consumers, but business use may be the real focus for carriers implementing DSL technology.

(Web Vision, India; April 17, 1998)

Internet “Bandwidth Boom” to Come to Asia in Coming Years

Asian nations are spending billions of dollars to foster high-bandwidth

Singapore has signed an agreement with @Home Network, a U.S.
Internet service using cable connections, to bring to the U.S. broadband
applications developed for Singapore, like educational and music programs.

Singapore Telecom is also teaming with China Telecom (Hong Kong). Companies
are lacing the Pacific with cable to meet the explosive demands of the

While international phone calls are growing 11% a year, Internet
traffic more than quadruples. Asia’s Net usage is growing the fastest in
the world–about 500% a year, compared to 300% in the U.S., according to

The number of satellite transponders devoted to Internet traffic could
increase to as much as 20% of the total in three years.

(AsiaWeek; April 17, 1998)

Hong Kong Tycoon Sees Online Info Access as Factor in Asian Crisis

Thirty one-year-old Richard Li, second son of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, and founder of Asia’s first satellite-delivered cable television service Star
TV, announced plans to start a digital media company to provide
Internet access and online information services throughout Asia.

“What separated the countries that did OK from those that didn’t was the
availability of information. Which countries are still standing? Singapore,
Hong Kong, Taiwan. Which ones aren’t? Korea, Thailand, Indonesia,” he said.

Business people and policy-makers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan had
access to real-time electronic news, while people in other parts of the
region did not.

(New York Times; April 13, 1998)

Singapore ISP Offers Net Phone Service

Singapore company Mediacom Technologies’ PC-to-PC Net phone service will be
offered via ISP SingNet, and has been approved by the Telecommunication
Authority of Singapore.

A Net call can be received even when the PC is not logged onto the Net. Both the calling and receiving PCs must be equipped with the necessary software, MediaRing Talk.

Mediacom is negotiating with potential investors in Singapore, Japan,
Europe and the U.S. to raise capital to fund its global expansion.

(Singapore Business Times; April 13, 1998)

Will Australia Lose Out in the E-Commerce Race?

The chief executive of Australia’s National Office for the Information
Economy (NOIE), Brian Twomey, said Australian businesses were lagging
behind their U.S. counterparts in their understanding of the business end
of electronic commerce.

Survey data to be presented at the upcoming
“E-Commerce Enabling Australia Summit” in Canberra will reveal the
lackadaisical attitude of Australian businesses towards electronic

“This is a call to arms for Australian business about the impact
of electronic commerce,” he said.

(Australian Financial Review; April 11, 1998)

Yahoo!’s Business Strategy, International Breadth Make Earnings a Hit

Yahoo! reported better-than-predicted first quarter earnings based on a 46
percent surge in daily usage and huge growth in online shopping revenues
over the prior quarter.

For the quarter ended March 31, Yahoo! reported
revenues of $30.2 million and net income of $4.2 million, up from revenues
of $10 million and a net loss of about $700,000 one year ago.

President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Koogle said Yahoo!’s extensive overseas operations are producing a greater share of revenue than in the past.
Yahoo! products are reportedly the most popular navigational aids in Britain, France, and Germany.

(San Jose Mercury News; April 9, 1998)

Study: 112.75 Million Internet Users Worldwide

Irish company NUA Internet Surveys estimates that as of February 1998, there are 112.75 million Internet users worldwide.

The NUA breakdown by area is as follows: Africa, one million; the Asia-Pacific, 14 million; Europe, 20 million; the Middle East, 0.525 million; Canada and the U.S., 70 million; and South America, seven million.

(Hong Kong Standard; April 9, 1998)

Japanese ISP to Venture Into U.S. Internet Market

Japan’s biggest telco, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), announced
plans to begin Internet services in the U.S. by taking a stake in
Colorado-based ISP Verio.

In its first attempt to start Internet services
abroad, NTT plans to target Japanese corporations operating in the U.S.,
helping them to build Internet-based VPNs.

Verio, established in 1996, provides Internet services in almost all parts of the U.S. and has 80,000 user accounts.

(Kyodo News Service; April 8, 1998)

News Around the Web