The Black Box, a Hong Kong based company, is quickly developing its extensive Orientation network of localized Web portals for regions outside of North America and Western Europe.
In the last six months, the company produced versions of its gateway for Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central & Eastern Europe, and Latin America & the Caribbean, and will shortly introduce a portal for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
The Orientation Global Network has also grown to include country specific portals for markets in Romania, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka and is on the verge of receiving sizeable investments for numerous other country directories.
The people behind Orientation are confident that they can challenge the competition in such markets because they believe that big players like Yahoo! are “too American” for local tastes.
“They don’t realize the cultural diversity that exists across regions. If you look at the content they put in, it’s quite homogenous,” said Phil Ingram, marketing manager for Orientation. “Our angle is taking a region and dividing it country by country.”
Orientation licenses the country portals to local partners already established in an Internet industry.
“For us, it’s an ideal business model. It gives flexibility to the licensees to utilize first rate technology, a potentially good brand, their knowledge of the local market and our support to produce an attractive local gateway,” commented Ingram.
The Orientation portal is powered by the BlackMagic database and robot developed in house by the Black Box for its portal and Web design business.
Some observers contend that although Orientation’s growing network is impressive, it still needs to undergo more development to sustain its global effort.
Orientation will in the next few months move its global operations base to New York in order to attract more investment and to be better situated.