allies with Mexican retail chain Elektra

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MEXICO CITY--Internet portal has formed a five-year strategic alliance with Mexican domestic appliance chain Elektra in an attempt to encourage more middle-class Mexicans to go online.

"Latin American online business will remain small unless the Internet becomes a medium used en masse," says Todito Director General Tim Parsa. "Our experience in the Internet combined with Elektra's great presence in Mexico and other Latin American countries will allow both companies to bring the Internet and electronic commerce to the mass market in Mexico."

Under the deal, Elektra will place kiosks in its stores promoting the Todito brand while offering customers discounted computers, Internet connection and classes all in one package with financing available. In exchange, Elektra will have the option of acquiring a 3% stake in the gateway that targets Hispanics in the U.S.

The deal also stipulates reciprocal online advertising on the respective Elektra and Todito sites as well as the promotion of their respective e-commerce ventures.

Elektra, which counts almost 1,000 stores in Mexico and five other Latin American countries, serves low- to middle-class consumers by offering them credit options for their purchases, a formula that has proven successful in markets where traditional forms of financing are scarce.

Grupo Dataflux and Mexico's No. 2 broadcaster, TV Azteca, have an equal share in The portal is home to about 70 virtual stores and 33 advertisers, who paid $2 million during the first quarter this year for space on the Todito site.

Copyright May 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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