AOL enters Australian online market

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SYDNEY--America Online, the world's leadingInternet service provider, has teamed up withGerman media giant Bertelsmann to launch itsonline service in Australia, the tenth marketso far to have a local AOL operation. The Australian service will be customized to localneeds.

"It has been very exciting to see the AOLglobal community grow as consumers worldwidehave helped us become a market leader whereverwe have offered our service," says Jack Davies,president of AOL International. "Australia,with its combination of high penetration ofhome computers, rapid growth in Internet usageand [the] tradition of quickly adopting newtechnology is a very attractive market for usto launch AOL."

The service will initially cover 70% of theAustralian population with local access numbers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide,Perth and Hobart. A nationwide number will alsoenable access from any part of the country.

The Dulles, Virginia-based AOL, which lastyear clocked sales of $2 billion by acquiringover 13 million subscribers for its Internetaccess service and through other interactiveservices, has followed the successful U.S. modelin Australia of signing deals with local contentproviders for exclusive partnerships.

Among the initial Australian partners are St.George Bank, book publisher MacquarieNet, recruiter Morgan and Banks, and

AOL has also been joined by such marketingpartners as Compaq Computer Australia, SouthKorea's LG Electronics, Sirius Technologies,3Com, Webster Publishing, Zoom, Dynalink, andLogitech.

"We believe that AOL's presence in the Australian marketplace will provide an excellentInternet online experience for customers," saysRob Balmer, consumer business manager at CompaqComputer Australia. "Compaq has partnered withAOL, offering its [online] services on all newPresario personal computers."

AOL in Australia will function under the umbrella of AOL Bertelsmann Online Services, asthe alliance between the U.S. marketer and the$16 billion Bertelsmann is called.

"This is the second continent on which Bertelsmann has been involved in the launch of an AOLservice," says Bernd Schiphorst, president ofBertelsmann New Media.

Prior to Australia and besides its own U.S.home market, AOL launched local services inCanada, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Japan. Plans for next yearinclude a bigger presence in Asia through adedicated AOL service in Cantonese for Hong Kong.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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