Lycos in joint venture with Singapore Telecom

Lycos Asia will offer local language versions of the portal and its Tripod home page community in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and India.

Web portal Lycos has entered into a joint venture with Singapore Telecom in an effort to tap the growing number of Internet users in Asia.

Called Lycos Asia, the venture will create local language versions of Lycos and its Tripod home page community in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and India. Lycos will provide content, and SingTel will manage day-to-day operations, sales, and marketing, according to the Waltham, Massachusetts-based Lycos.

Lycos and SingTel will each own 50 percent of Lycos Asia. The companies will invest a total of $50 million into the venture.

Lycos joins a flock of other Web players, including its primary competitors, looking across the Pacific. Rivals Yahoo and Excite have already launched Asian-language versions, while and also are gunning to become the Web destination of choice among Chinese speakers.

Meanwhile, America Online is set to launch AOL Hong Kong with by the end of the year, and last week CNN launchedAsiaNow, an Asia-focused news and information Web site.

Market research firms predict the Asia-Pacific region (which includes all countries around the Asian continent except Japan) will boom in coming years as more households begin buying PCs. Internet use is expected to jump to 25 million users by the end of the year from 18 million in 1998, according to market research firm International Data Corporation.

The initiative also marks the second joint venture of its kind for Lycos. In May 1997, the portal signed a similar deal with German media giant Bertelsmann to create local language portals in Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain.

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