Asia Online plots new direction . . . again

Hong Kong-based regional Internet service provider Asia Online, last week announced a new strategic focus on managed network and security services, Web site and application hosting, and Internet connectivity for medium and large businesses. The company said it believes profit margins are larger in these segments.

Asia Online President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Roberto said the company has made steady progress, reducing its losses over the past year by 78 percent and projecting 2001 revenue to rise by 20 percent, reaching US$47 million.

In the past year, the company has consolidated the 18 companies it acquired since 1999 and has nearly halved its regional headcount to 488.

"The consolidation is on both management and operations," said Roberto. "We have flattened the management structure and made it a regionwide one." On the operations side, the company has consolidated its MIS systems across Asia, including customer care and billing systems, and financial reporting systems, he added.

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