Singapore telecom in $50 million venture with Lycos

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SINGAPORE--Singapore Telecom (SingTel) is joining forceswith Lycos, an Internet portal, in a $50 million joint venture to deliver localized versions of Lycos.com and Tripod to more than 10 Asian markets.

Based in Singapore, the new venture called Lycos Asia, will providelocal portal sites in its target markets, each containing local content presented in the principal language of the local market.

Lycos will provide its search, navigation and community technologiesto the venture while SingTel will manage the day-to-day operations,including local content aggregation, sales, marketing and administration.

The first sites expected to be rolled out later this year includeSingapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and India.

Lycos Asia is a major development in SingTel's strategy to be a dominant Internet and e-commerce player in the region. Earlier this month,SingTel's subsidiary, National Computer Systems, announced the settingup of Sesami.com, Asia's first dynamic commerce portal connecting buyersand suppliers in the region to a global trading web of online marketplaces.

In addition to the more than 10 Asian markets Lycos is pursuing withSingTel, Lycos has a substantial international presence, including LycosEurope, a joint venture with media powerhouse Bertelsmann; in Japan withSumitomo Corp. and Internet Initiative Japan; and in Korea with MiraeCorp. Lycos plans to enter Latin America later this year.

The Internet market in Asia Pacific is expected to grow from 20 million users in 1999 to more than 60 million users in 2003, accordingto research by Goldman Sachs.

Meanwhile, the e-commerce business in the Asia Pacific region is expected to grow from $148 million in 1997 to more than $35 billion in2002, according to data from International Data Corp. (IDC).

The market in China, alone, is expected to grow from 3.8 millionusers and $42 million in revenue in 1999 to more than 16 millionusers and $3.8 billion in revenue by 2003, according to IDC.

Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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