Takes Thai Culture Global

BANGKOK (04/10/2000) - The Nation Group publishing house's subsidiary, Thai Portal Co. Ltd., has taken control of the name and plans to offer a complete portal for traveling and export in the country. The site is another tangible step in the country's advancement towards an e-commerce marketplace.

Though the portal only offers some basic features today, the complete information gateway with unique features will be launched in mid-June, said executives. The graphic user interface will be in English as a worldwide audience is the target.

At the signing ceremony with IBM Corp. (Thailand), a deal worth up to 100 million baht (US$2.63 million) which will see the portal have unlimited access to IBM's e-business solutions, Thanachai Theerapatvong, chairman & CEO of Thai Portal, said.

"We will focus our portal site on traveling and export-related businesses but at a worldwide level," he said. "By signing a total e-business solutions deal, our portal will be ready on the e-commerce-related side with the most comprehensive, reliable and scalable system."

The Nation has already shown how aggressive it can be when it comes to the Internet market, signing deals with Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT), forming new entities like the Nation Digital Media and Thai Portal Co., Ltd and setting up new companies such as Ltd. Thai Portal is set to become a gateway for Southeast Asia and is aimed at attracting foreigners who are looking to traveling and need export-related businesses.

Thanachai added, "We want to make our portal a world-class standard, so we need the total e-commerce solutions from IBM to make sure that we can attain our target."

At the same time, Sermsin Samalapa, president & COO of Thai Portal Co., Ltd said, "We considered many e-commerce solution providers to be our partner, but we chose IBM because of its technology, team composition, price, and commitment to make e-commerce happen in Thailand."

The site is a strategy of the Nation Group, a large local media/publishing company, to expand its business into the emerging Internet technologies. The group covers radio, Thai and English newspapers, and TV.

Wanarak Eckachai, general manager of IBM (Thailand), said: "This deal will reflect the next generation new business model -- that's what we at IBM call the Next Generation. IBM will provide its total e-commerce solutions from back-office to front-office for"

Thanwa Laohasiriwong, country manager of IBM (Thailand), said that IBM would provide full Web infrastructure for the portal - including hardware (IBM RS/6000 S70 and B50), networked personal computers, database server DB2 Universal, Web development (WebSphere Application server, Studio, Performance Pack and Commerce), management tool Tivoli, security system Secureway."

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