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CNN's AsiaNow launch continues regional trend

CNN Interactive unveils a news site focusing on the Asia-Pacific region in an effort to appeal to a rapidly growing market of Web users.

CNN Interactive unveiled AsiaNow, a news site focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, in an effort to appeal to a growing market of Web users.

The site will feature breaking regional news, as well as financial, sports, and entertainment headlines from CNN, Time magazine, and Asiaweek.

With the launch, CNN joins a number of companies that are devoting a part of their Web strategies to Asian Net users. As PCs penetrate homes and businesses, Internet use is expected to increase exponentially, jumping to 25 million users by the end of the year from 18 million in 1998, according to market research firm International Data Corporation.

Web players including Yahoo and Excite have versions of their services for specific Asian regions or languages. Other Web companies, including China.com and Sina.com, are trying to become the Web destination of choice in the Chinese market. And online giant America Online plans to partner with China.com to launch AOL Hong Kong by the end of the year.

AsiaNow will try to appeal to advertisers that want exposure to a higher-end Asian and expatriate audience, such as technology firms and airlines, according to site editor Scott McKenzie.

Time Warner is expected to launch a number of Web hubs to bolster its Internet strategy. CNN will likely power its news hub, along with Time Magazine.