International Briefs

European Union to Consider Taxation of Internet Commerce

The European Commission has issued a proposal that goods and services
ordered online by EU residents should be subject to value added tax (VAT).

The EU is stating that no new taxes should be applied to e-commerce
activities, but that they should not escape the taxes already in place in
the physical world.

The move may kick off a fierce debate between Europe
and the U.S., as the U.S. government has taken up a stance calling for no
taxation on the Net.

The EU is calling for global talks on this subject,
using an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
meeting in Canada in October as the starting point.

(Internet magazine, Britain; June 18, 1998)

Internet Society Conference to be Held in Geneva

International policy makers, Net pioneers and corporate executives from
around the world will address the socio-economic impact and future of the
Internet at INET’98, the eighth annual conference of the Internet Society
(ISOC) to be held July 21 to 24 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speakers include Vinton Cerf (co-inventor of TCP/IP); European Union
representative Robert Verrue, director general of DGXIII, which is
responsible for the development of the European information highways; and
Jay Naidoo, South Africa’s Telecom Minister.

“Network leaders and policy makers from 150 countries will come together to discuss the evolution of the Internet and its future impact on many key areas of society, from health and education to electronic commerce,” said Don Heath, ISOC President.

For the first time, the workshops will be presented in four
different languages at two locations: Geneva (English and French) and Rio
de Janeiro (Spanish and Portuguese).

(Web Vision, India; June 22, 1998)

Number of Non-English Speaking Users Growing Fastest On the Net

Speakers with a first language other than English are the fastest-growing
group of new Internet users.

If the Internet in the next century becomes
more of a global mass medium, the way commerce, news, research and
entertainment are presented on the Internet will have to be rethought.

One result of the shift in language could be a crack in American hegemony over Internet culture. Currently, more than half of the Internet’s users–62
million people–live in the U.S., but the rate of online growth has slowed

(New York Times; June 18, 1998)

Research Reports Reveal U.S. Dominance Of Global Internet Market

U.S. businesses and consumers made nearly nine out of 10 of the $7.6
billion Internet purchases last year, according to International Data

U.S. businesses account for 70 percent of Web sites and 93
percent of Web revenues, according to ActivMedia Research. U.S. online
exports represent 10 percent of the Web-generated revenue stream in the
U.S., according to ActivMedia.

In 2002, IDC estimates that the U.S. will
account for a 64 percent share of a $333 billion market in online
business. Western Europe will account for 9 percent of deals, compared
with 7 percent in 1997. Asia Pacific will have 16 percent, compared with
4 percent last year.

(Financial Times, Britain; June 17, 1998)

Singapore Calls for Cheaper Internet Access Rates at APEC Meeting

At the third APEC Telecommunication Ministers Meeting earlier this month,
Singapore advocated revamping Internet charge arrangements to make Net
access cheaper in Asia.

Most Asian ISPs bear the full cost of an Internet
connection to the U.S.

“We need to review the existing way of charging in
terms of paying for the full line to the U.S.,” said Cheah Cheng Poh,
general manager of a Singapore ISP, CyberWay.

APEC is also exploring ways
to lower Internet charges between Asian countries.

(Singapore Business Times; June 17, 1998)

Australian Telco Telstra to Test Internet Telephony Service

Australian telco and ISP Telstra is testing out an Internet telephony
service to Britain over the next six months via its Big Pond network.

During the trial, 250 people from the Sydney metropolitan region will be
able to make calls directly to Britain at greatly reduced prices.

Users will access the service directly from their phone. Australian ISPs Ozemail and RSL are currently offering voice over IP services.

(The Australian; June 16, 1998)

E-Commerce to be Focus of Internet Conference in Malaysia in September

“Malaysian businesses have to confront the Internet and go into the next
century,” according to Michael Wescott, managing director for Asia of
Mecklermedia Corporation, which is organising the Internet World Malaysia
( trade show in September with Digital Conference Sdn

The Internet offers a way for companies to reshape, re-engineer, and
become more efficient by harnessing new resources during the current
economic crisis.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said the Internet is revolutionising Malaysia and provides various benefits and opportunities, particularly in e-commerce.

(The Star, Malaysia; June 15, 1998)

Intel to Enable Chip Sales Via Internet in Asia

Intel Asia-Pacific vice-president John Davies said the chip giant will
start selling its chips via the Net in a few weeks to PC makers in Asia,
like Acer of Taiwan.

Within two years, Intel aims to process most of its chip sales to PC makers via the Net. Intel also has two venture capital investments in the Asia-Pacific, including a joint venture with the Pacific Century Group which plans to deliver electronic commerce throughout Asia.

Intel’s goal is to create in the Asia-Pacific 98 new electronic commerce
applications this year, said Davies. Intel has software laboratories in
China and India, with over 150 software professionals, to develop software
for electronic commerce.

(Singapore Business Times; June 15, 1998)

Net Banking Faces Regulatory, Security, Infrastructure Hurdles in India

Rajiv Butalia, vice president (planning and resources) at IndusInd Bank in
India, says the bank’s Web site provides account balances, cheque book
requirements, term deposit details, interest rates, forex rates and stock

But K. Seshashayi, chief general manager, systems and technology, State Bank of India, says online funds transfer will not be available in India until more secure and hacker-proof solutions are devised.

“Electronic fund transfer is governed by the Negotiable Instruments Act. The legal framework is not really developed to handle these transactions,” he says. “Electronic signatures are not recognised by RBI,” Butalia agrees.

(Economic Times, India; June 12, 1998)

DataMonitor Publishes Report on Corporate Internet Services in Europe

Datamonitor’s report on “Corporate Internet Services in Europe” published in May 1998, provides information on the growth of the corporate Internet
services market across Europe.

The number of companies accessing the Internet across Western Europe will more than double between the end of 1997 and 2000. Datamonitor assesses the number of companies across Western Europe with Internet access to have been 1.2 million at 31 December 1997.

As more and more SMEs join the major corporate companies online, this
figure will rise to over 3 million in 2000. Higher bandwidth access
technologies, such as Digital Subscriber Line and cable modems, will play
an increasingly important part.

By comparison, services such as ISDN and low bandwidth leased lines will diminish in importance.

(Financial Times, Britain; June 10, 1998)

Survey Conducted on Internet Users in New Zealand

New Zealand Internet users are rich, over 35 and male, according to an
online study conducted by Sydney-based market research group

The median age of New Zealand users is 35-39, 76 percent are male, and the
median household income of users is $50,000-$60,000 per year, with 38 percent of respondents having household incomes of over $70,000.

Over 60 percent of recipients believe that Internet usage and censorship should be monitored by parents, as opposed to the government or the Internet service providers.

(InfoTech Weekly, New Zealand; June 8, 1998)

Global Sports Coverage on the Web Can Provide New Dimensions for News

The use of sports Web sites is growing at a rate of up to 700 percent a
year, and the number of Internet users is growing at 300 percent, according to IBM.

“Having been around for three years now, the concept of the official
event Web site is catching on,” says Jose-Louis Irribarren, IBM’s Internet
strategies programme director.

New functions and features of online
coverage have significantly enhanced the users’ experience and fostered
their online loyalty.

“Sports content is very suitable for delivery online,” says Mark Hardie, an analyst with Forrester Research. “If you can’t see the event, the next best thing is to get the very latest scores and statistics.”

(Financial Times, Britain; June 3, 1998)

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