Chief Yahoo Wows Washington

WASHINGTON (04/11/2000) - Former House Speaker Tip O'Neill's belief that "all politics is local" is also true for e-commerce firms interested in seeking a global market, according to Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo Inc.

Yang, chief yahoo (his official title) of one of the most successful Internet-based companies operating today, said that reaching the global market requires an understanding of that market. Companies can't sit back and expect their English-language Web sites to capture the world, he said.

"If you want to be successful, my belief is you've got to be very, very local," said Yang. Even if an overseas user understands English, that person doesn't necessarily converse or do business in English, said Yang.

Although English dominates the Web today, Yang said that in time most of content on the Web will be published in other languages.

Yahoo now offers its content is about 14 languages.

Yang, speaking at the National Press Club here today, also argued against privacy regulations and said businesses have strong incentives to protect their customers' privacy.

"People spend a lot of money to acquire the customers," said Yang. "The best hope that we have in making money is holding on to those consumers forever."

Fundamental to building "a deep and long-lasting relationship" with users is their "trust in our ability to safeguard their privacy," said Yang.

Yang also warned that regulations could "fix" certain behaviors in an industry that is still evolving, potentially endangering the growth of the Internet.

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