Virtual Internet gets real in Asia-Pacific

A new player today entered the Australia and Asia-Pacific internet services market, offering web-hosting services, dot-com support services and intellectual property protection.

Launched in the UK in 1996, Virtual Internet has become one of Europe's leading domain-based services companies. Overseas customers include more than 50 companies in the Financial Times "Top 100". It now adds a Sydney office to its existing bases in London, Paris, Milan and New York, with services available immediately.

According to Richard Smith, Virtual Internet's managing director for the Asia-Pacific region, the company will initially offer three kinds of service, based on conditions in the Australian market.

Channel products and services will be aimed at ISPs and web developers which can profit from outsourcing web hosting requirements to Virtual Internet.

Dot-com support services will offer what Virtual Internet claims is technical and performance superiority for commercial internet sites.

Finally, through "net searchers", Virtual Internet aims to provide worldwide protection of intellectual property rights including domain name and trademark piracy and other forms of copyright infringement.

The company says it has tailored its offerings to Australian market conditions; in particular, said Smith, "the dynamic growth of e-business here. The forecasts we've seen have been extremely exciting, predicting very strong growth over the next two years, and we're here to facilitate that growth through our potential channel partners."

Virtual Internet's pursuit of a technical edge, Smith added, is based on recent research that shows that e-commerce operators' purchasing decisions are increasingly sensitive to performance and speed issues. "The base network we've created here in Australia is provisioned on Gigabit Ethernet," he added, "and the financial backing and experience we have will really set us apart."

The UK's Internet Magazine voted Virtual Internet as one of the fastest-performing hosting companies, in terms of speed of transmission of data from the hosting server, since June 1999.

The UK parent company has just announced two new services: SnapSell, an online "shopping cart" creator; and GyroWAP, a WAP portal builder. Both will be released in Australia "in due course", said Smith.

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