Web Connection Plans Big Expansion in North Asia

The Web Connection, the Internet and e-commerce consulting arm of Chinadotcom Corp., plans to significantly increase its staff in Japan and South Korea over the next year.

Speaking at the Comdex Korea exhibition in Seoul, company President and Chief Operating Officer Stephen McKay [CQ] said he is planning a big increase in the number of employees working at the company as demand for Internet consulting services increases rapidly.

"We are in the midst of the most profound shift in global economics that we will ever experience in our lifetime. In fact, the entire business of the Web Connection is built on that premise. When this occurs and we have a major, profound shift in the economy, and you clearly have a great deal of confusion and disruption, there's no better time to be a consultant or a systems integrator than when there is confusion and disruption. That's when companies need the external help."The Web Connection already employs about 1,000 consultants across Asia, with South Korea already a major market. At its local offices in Seoul, the company employees 200 staff -- the number is four times that of its Tokyo office and representative of the booming local Internet market in the nation.

"North Asia is a top priority for us," said McKay. "Japan is the second-largest economy in the world and Korea, we think, is a well-kept secret of Asia. Korea and Japan, in the immediate term, will be a very strong focus for us from an investment perspective.""Our focus will be more on growth of the number of people and the type of people. Today a lot of our resources are connecting our competencies via technology. We'll be building a much stronger supply chain management practice and also vertical industry practices," McKay said.

McKay said the company is planning to double the number of staff in its Seoul office next year and, by the end of 2000, hopes to have 100 staff working out of its Tokyo office. In addition, China is also slated to receive some major investment, with the current 300 staff rising as high as 700 in the coming year.

How does the company plan to find these new workers? McKay put out a direct appeal to anyone looking for work to contact him directly, even displaying his telephone number and e-mail address to his audience at the keynote speech.

"I would encourage any of you to contact me directly if you are seeking employment. We are looking to grow beyond our 200 people today," he said at the conclusion to his keynote speech after earlier also inviting university graduates from the audience to send him their resumes.

Comdex Korea runs until Saturday at the COEX exhibition center in Seoul. More information can be found online at http://comdex.chosun.com/. The Web Connection, in Hong Kong, can be reached +852-2865-5880 or via the Web at http://www.twc-asia.com.

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