Yahoo! launches in Mexico

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MEXICO CITY--Global Internet portal Yahoo! has launched its Mexican site ( ), marking the company's second foray in Latin America within the last two months.

The U.S.-based gateway already counts eight advertisers in its Mexicanportal, including AereoMexico, Bancomer, Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Ford Motor Co.

"I'm positively surprised by the ad industry's warm welcome," says Alejandro Cardoso, Yahoo's Mexico director general, adding that the company has 25 prospective clients excited by the idea of using the Internet for the promotion of their products and services.

Yahoo! Mexico will depend exclusively on ad sales for its revenue, leaving e-commerce for others.

"We're not commerce driven (but) we put in contact those who want to do business," says Mr. Cardoso.

Yahoo! is not the first heavyweight portal to enter the maturing Internet market in Mexico -- Starmedia, El Sitio and others beat it to the punch -- but Mr. Cardoso says he is not worried about arriving too late. "Right now it's not an issue of market share, but an issue of positioning," he says.

While there are only approximately 1.5 million Internet users in Mexico, Mr. Cardoso believes the number could double by the year 2001.

Innovative promotions such as that of ISP Prodigy, offering potential users a free computer when they sign up for a two-year contract, could ignite a bigger boom in Mexico, says Mr. Cardoso.

The Mexican site includes traditional Yahoo! content and features, including instant messenger, and the company plans to rollout new products in the coming months.

The gateway launched its first Latin American site in Brazil two do business," says Mr. Cardoso.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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