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PointCast goes global

PointCast inks a deal with China Internet to push its popular broadcasting service onto Asian desktops.

As part of its growing international strategy, PointCast today announced plans to form PointCast Asia.

Under the joint venture agreement with Hong Kong-based China Internet, PointCast will supply the base technology to broadcast information to users' desktop while China Internet handles the infrastructure and arrangements with local content providers, said Wendy McCarthy, a PointCast spokeswoman.

Terms of the deal and the capitalization commitment from PointCast were not disclosed, but McCarthy said there will be a profit-sharing arrangement.

Mimicking its U.S. version, PointCast Asia will offer local news and information to users in Southeast Asia and China markets by the end of the year. An English version of the content will be available sooner and is scheduled for the summer.

PointCast Asia will operate a Hong Kong-based broadcast facility to oversee acquisitions of content, advertising sales, and marketing throughout the region. The operation will also have an office in Singapore.

China Internet, which already has content relationships with news organizations, will bring those to the table in the joint-venture, McCarthy said. She added that the partnerships allow PointCast to leverage the content relationships of its local partners.

"Since we launched the PointCast Network last February, we have experienced incredible interest from Internet viewers throughout Asia," said Douglas Boake, PointCast's vice president for Pacific, Asian, and Latin American operations, in a statement. "China Internet is an ideal partner for PointCast because of its proven ability to aggregate content and operate large-scale data centers. It is also rapidly developing into the leading provider of online services to the international business community in Asia."

The partnership marks the third in the last seven months for the broadcast network operator.

Last September, the company launched PointCast Canada with Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper group and last month unveiled its PointCast Japan, which is a partnership with Trans Cosmos.

The PointCast Asia deal differs from the company's Canadian deal, where the relationship is similar to a franchise and involves a revenue split.

"You can expect four more announcements this year," McCarthy said. "We expect to make a partnership announcement for the U.K. in the second quarter."

She noted, however, that the other three countries have yet to be decided, although target markets include Australia, Germany, and Latin America.