Although it’s been only three years since its founders have graduated from college, set-top vendor MyWeb claims it has put the pieces in place for it to become an Internet dynamo in China.
“It is our objective to become the Yahoo! or America Online of Asia,” said T.S. Wong, president and CEO of MyWeb. “We see this as a realistic goal.”
In recent months, the tiny San Francisco-based MyWeb has forged a series of relationships that it says give it a leg-up in the race for Internet dominance in China. The company’s strategy begins with its Java-based MyWeb set-top box, which it is manufacturing in conjunction with the huge Qidong Haier, China’s largest consumer appliance manufacturer.
The company also has entered joint ventures with the Beijing Telegraph Administration (BTA) and the Xinhua News Agency.
The company says that it is focusing on set-top boxes because PCs are too expensive for many Chinese users. The box will sell for 1,488 yuan, or about $180, and also are rentable.
Because of this low-cost strategy, the company claims it will sell or lease 200,000 set-top boxes by the end of 1999, compared to its base of 15,000 units at the start of the year, according to the company.
In addition to its set-top box, MyWeb has launched the MyWeb Online Service (MOS) native-language portal in China. It already has similar services in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The company shrugs off competition from higher-visibility vendors such as China.com.
“Portal companies like China.com seek to capture the existing Internet Internet base in the market,” said Wong. “MyWeb aims to take this one step further by actively growing the Internet base through deploying set-top boxes.”