PC CyberWorks Pumps $7 Million Into Outblaze

CyberWorksVentures, part of Hong Kong traded Pacific Century Cyberworks Limited (PCCW), has acquired a 20 percent stake in local startup Outblaze for US$7 million.

This is the second substantial private investment in Outblaze, a messaging and Internet technology specialist, in the last three months.

In May, the company received a US$4.5 million injection from China Rich Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based investment holding company, for 50 percent equity.

Outblaze and PCCW, an Intel-Pacific Century Group cable and satellite broadband Internet venture, plan to leverage each others offerings.

Outblaze will supply messaging and Internet technology services to the cable operators within PCC’s universe, according to Outblaze CTO and vice president Yat Siu.

Siu said, “Outblaze messaging technology provides the ability to offer e-mail services, scheduling, messaging, discussion boards and other interactive features that could add significant value to PCC activities.”

For its own messaging and portal services, Outblaze gains exposure to PCCW’s potential users in Asia, estimated to be 110 million households.

PCG is a private company owned by Richard Li, son of Hong Kong property magnate Li Ka Shing. Li launched Star TV in 1990, a pan-Asian satellite and cable business now owned by Rupert Murdoch, which now is considered the largest in the world.

Two weeks ago, Intel announced a HK$389 million (US$50 million) investment in Pacific Century’s PCCW which, in turn, absorbed an earlier joint venture between the two companies called Pacific Convergence Corporation. The move effectively gave Intel 13 percent of PCCW.

PCG has also entered into an agreement with the Hong Kong Government to build the HK$13 billion (US$1.7 million) Cyberport complex.

Since the launch of its Instant Portal product last December, Outblaze claims to have signed up over 7,000 Web sites and over 1,500,000 user members using its software. Outblaze’s accessory services include Internet voicemail, Internet fax, classifieds, online auction, Internet StoreFront, shopping basket, and international e-commerce payment gateway.

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