Asian ISP forms new e-commerce unit

Pacific Internet, a regional ISP in Asia, has formed a new company to focus exclusively on developing e-commerce opportunities in the region.

NASDAQ-listed Pacific Internet over the next two years will invest $US50 million in Pacfusion.com, the new unit targeted at providing e-commerce, content and community services, the company said.

The aim is to build Pacfusion.com into the region's dominant e-business enterprise in the next 18 to 24 months and then list the unit on NASDAQ with an expected initial market valuation of over $1 billion, the company said.

Pacfusion.com will shortly launch Asia's first so-called fusion portal, integrating Internet access, online search capabilities and Web-based services consisting of the '4Cs' - commerce, content, community and communications - including Internet telephony, broadband and cellular Internet access as these become available in the region.

The new venture by the first quarter of 2000 aims to set up a venture capital fund and to open a US office in San Jose, California, according to Pacific Internet CEO Nicholas Lee. The objective of the US office will be to bring promising US Internet companies to Asia, leveraging on the multi-country presence of Pacific Internet.

Pacfusion.com will partner with Pacific Internet to form a syndication platform for US and European partners that are interested in offering their content in the Asia-Pacific region, Lee said.

Pacific Internet currently has operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia and India, and is scheduled to add several more countries to the list next year. Following China's expected induction into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Pacific Internet is going back into the country with renewed zeal to find joint venture partners to offer Internet access and e-commerce services there, Lee said.

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