The avowed goals of the alliance are to promote Internet usage across borders in Greater China, help assess users’ online requirements for Chinese contents, and enable more effective Internet search across the region.
The first phase of GCPA trilateral online banner advertisement exchange, joint logo display and marketing, and an online customer survey.
“It is a true combination of the best in the three markets, delivering a superior and comprehensive Chinese online service. We are confident that it will result in increased traffic to our specific sites,” said Judy Inn, a vice president from Cable & Wireless HKT IMS, the operator of Netvigator.
“As a well-received portal site in China, Netease is excited to explore and promote the internationalization of the Chinese Internet service,” said William Ding, Netease’s CEO.
“The establishment of the Greater China Alliance Portal is a major step taken by the leading portal service providers in Asia to make significant improvements in the breadth of information and convenience of service delivered to customers,” said David Lu, president of Kimo.
According to Steve Fox, a veteran in the Greater China Web space, the move “..is a reaction by these portals to the dominance and greater reach of Sina and Yahoo portals in the Greater China market.”
However, he point out that “this announcement does little to indicate how this new alliance will benefit the end user. For example, most users in Taiwan can’t even view the Netease homepage because it’s in simplified Chinese.”
More perplexing is the fact that Netvigator, earlier this year, announced plans to build a portal for Greater China including separate editions for China and Taiwan, which would have to be the case because they would need different written languages.
“I would speculate that if Kimo’s owners are looking for a reasonable exit strategy, acquisition by Cable & Wireless could be it,” added an industry observer.
Equally baffling is the fact that Netease, which is planning an IPO on NASDAQ by the end of the year, is a natural competitor to Netvigator in China.