Asian E-Commerce Site Spans Cultures

An e-commerce Web site that promises to help Asian companies globalize their businesses was launched last week in a joint venture between Hong Kong-based Internet content provider People of Asia (POA) and Cable & Wireless Bermuda.

The multilingual Web site - -- allows business-to-business trading in 17 Asian currencies.

The markets targeted are Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"Although existing search engines provide a directory of domain names, users often end up spending hours of online connection time without accomplishment," said Connie Leung, People of Asia's managing director.

"Companies who spent millions to be listed in search engines often get low hit-ratios and low return on investments," she said. Leung added that companies could benefit from POA's advertising rate, which starts from "as low as HK$10."

"To maximize the potential of e-commerce, customers need to be able to access the Web site in the language of their choice, their mother tongue, and in their own currency," said Andy Gray, regional manager for e-commerce, Cable & Wireless Caribbean & Atlantic Islands.

C&W, together with its banking partner, the Bank of Bermuda, is providing POA with its multi-currency transaction service.

POA claims that it can provide a more secure environment to merchants and buyers alike through its own delivery services, together with C&W's payment gateway.

Other than e-business, the site also provides feng shui, news, sports, travel and e-mail services. Leung said that the rollout of additional services and language facilities will be introduced throughout the year.

The Web site currently supports English, traditional and simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

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