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Excite aims at Asia-Pacific region

The portal announces plans to build out its existing service in Australia and to expand into other markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Excite today announced plans to build out its existing service in Australia and to expand into other markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

The build-out is part of a new joint venture the portal is forming with Australian publishing firm LibertyOne. The venture allows the two companies to beef up Excite's current portal for the Australian market. As it stands, Excite Australia is scant compared to its primary portal, serving mostly as an additional platform for its search directory; it contains only a few links to local sites and services.

Along with using the relationship to improve its Australian portal offering, Excite hopes to leverage LibertyOne's understanding of the Asia-Pacific markets so it can expand in markets such as New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

After the release Portalopoly of the new Excite Australia in the fourth quarter, the joint venture intends to seek out similar partners in Asia-Pacific countries that will provide expertise in conducting business and attracting advertisers in the markets, according to Excite.

Despite the economic and political turmoil that has crippled the region for the past year, most notably in Indonesia, Excite executive vice president Brett Bullington remains confident. The decision to spread into these beleaguered countries is a way to cultivate a strong audience base that will increasingly be more appealing to advertisers, he said.

"There will always be changes in the global markets," Bullington said. "What we are really effectively doing is we want to build a great service that builds consumer habits, which then lead to an audience, and from an audience it allows you to target your advertising, which allows you to build out your business plan."

Bullington added that content for the collection of Asian sites will vary depending on the local producer preferences. He added that portals for markets such as Singapore, which has a large number of Chinese speakers, will support search functions for both Roman and Chinese character sets.