Mirror-site operator kicks off Asia push

Mirror Image Internet Inc. on Tuesday kicked off a strategy to expand its Internet content mirroring business in Asia through a partnership with Hong Kong-based data center operator and Internet service provider iAdvantage Ltd.

Under the partnership announced at a news conference here, iAdvantage will market Mirror Image's services as part of its hosting services offering to corporations in the region. The partnership may also lead to co-location arrangements for Mirror Image at future iAdvantage data centers in China. The company set up one of its ContentAccessPoint (CAP) facilities at an iAdvantage data center in Hong Kong last November.

Mirror Image now operates 22 CAPs around the world. By contracting with Mirror Image, a content provider can distribute copies of its Internet data at sites around the world, closer to end users. The service is designed to make information access faster and less expensive in terms of intercontinental bandwidth.

There currently are four CAPs in the Asia-Pacific region, in Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong. The next phase of Mirror Image's Asian expansion is aimed at South Korea, Taiwan, China and India, said Anurag, Mirror Image's vice president for Asia-Pacific, at the news conference. The partnership with iAdvantage will be a model for other expansion deals in the region, according to Mirror Image.

Content mirroring is especially valuable in Asia, because most of the world's Web sites still are located in the U.S. and bandwidth across the Pacific is relatively scarce, Anurag said. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of Web content being accessed in Asia still is coming from the U.S., he said.

Even though Internet backbones within Asia and to the rest of the world are being rapidly built out, making an intercontinental connection can involve as many as 17 router hops along the way, which introduces latency.

"You've got the backbone now, but the content's not there," Anurag said.

The company has high hopes for China, where legal and regulatory issues have been sticky for many foreign IT companies but are expected to be cleared up by the country's impending admission to the World Trade Organization.

"China's going to be a huge market for us," Anurag said. He acknowledged that issues such as data privacy and content restrictions have complicated the company's plans there.

Mirror Image, a subsidiary of Xcelera Inc., is based in Woburn, Massachusetts, and can be reached at +1-781-376-1100 or via the Web at http://www.mirror-image.com. iAdvantage, in Hong Kong, can be reached at +852-2208-8338 or via the Web at http://www.iadvantage.net.

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