The new venture, called CMGI Asia, will be jointly owned by the two companies. CMGI Asia will launch separate Asian joint ventures with CMGI-owned companies, including Web portal AltaVista, Internet marketing network Engage Technologies, online entertainment network ICast, and online payment service 1ClickCharge.com.
In each Asian operating division, CMGI Asia will own at least 60 percent of the company, and the operating company will own the remaining 40 percent.
The formation of CMGI Asia reflects a growing emphasis among Internet companies to tap into the burgeoning Asian market. Internet usage in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, is expected to reach 21.8 million people who will spend $2.2 billion by year's end, according to market research firm International Data Corp.
U.S. Internet heavyweights have begun making their moves in Asia. America Online last summer took a 10 percent stake in Hong Kong-based Internet company China.com to develop an online service for the region. Web portal Yahoo has also taken steps toward tapping Asian Web users, launching sites focused on Asia in general, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Lycos last fall also formed Lycos Asia, a joint venture with Singapore Telecom, to create local language portals.
Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) is a division of Pacific Century Group, the Hong Kong media company that sold its StarTV satellite TV network to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in 1995. PCCW has been involved in providing broadband access and technology throughout Asia.
PCCW has become a partner of choice among many U.S.-based high-tech companies looking for an Asian presence. Andover, Mass.-based CMGI in September took a 5.5 percent stake in the company. In August, Intel invested $50 million in PCCW, and it will supply chips, software and systems to form the backbone of the company's broadband businesses.