Microsoft, Compaq & Systex Form Asian E-Commerce JV

Three of Taiwan’s largest IT companies have announced a joint venture which aims to become a leading supplier of e-commerce services and software solutions to companies in Taiwan and throughout East Asia.

Operations are scheduled to commence next month.

Systex Corp., one of Taiwan’s leading software companies, Microsoft Taiwan Corp., and Compaq Computer Taiwan Corp. have together pooled 100 million New Taiwan dollars (US$3.1 million) to found Asia eBusiness Corp., a unit which is seen as combining the expertise of the three partner companies.

Systex’s stake in the venture is 49.8 percent. Microsoft and Compaq have invested almost 25 million New Taiwan dollars each. For both Microsoft and Compaq, Asia eBusiness is their first significant Taiwan project.

E-commerce in Taiwan is relatively undeveloped, with just US$45.2 million having been spent by Net users in 1998. Of this, less than half was personal computer spending.

The three companies are especially eager to establish footholds before the market takes off.

“Early entries are always higher in the league than late entries, particularly in the rapidly-moving world of Internet business, where a step behind may result in trailing by light years,” said Allen Fan, president of Microsoft Taiwan Corp.

Systex vice president Roger Huang has been appointed general manager of Asia eBusiness’ preparatory office.

Huang said that Asia eBusiness will initially target the business-to-business sector. The company will also pay particular attention to the financial sector, which he predicted will see a revolution in the near future as investment management and exchange markets become Web-based, real-time operations.

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