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NBC Internet expands reach with Asiacontent.com

The company is taking steps into Asia in an effort to extend its reach to Internet consumers across the Pacific.

Chris Kitze NBC Internet is taking steps into Asia in an effort to extend its reach to Internet consumers across the Pacific.

The company today announced it would enter a joint venture with Singapore-based Asiacontent.com. The companies will jointly develop Web portals in several countries, including Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The local portals will offer content through NBCi's Snap, community through its Xoom home page builder, and shopping through Liquid Market. Asiacontent.com will provide local language content and advertising.

NBCi will initially take a 35 percent stake in the venture with an option to increase its stake to 60 percent. Asiacontent.com will own the remaining 65 percent.

"NBCi and Asiacontent.com will launch services that truly serve the needs of both users and partners in these key regions, as we continue to turn worldwide Internet users into Internet shoppers, building on our successful initiatives in Italy and France," Chris Kitze, chief executive of NBCi, said in a statement.

The new sites will launch in the "coming months," the companies said.

The deal comes one day after NBCi announced a deal with Australia's Seven Network to develop online and broadband businesses in Australia.

CNET, publisher of News.com, is an investor in NBCi and a joint venture partner with Asiacontent.com.

Asia has become a region of much interest to Web portals such as America Online, Yahoo, Excite@Home and Lycos. The companies have launched initiatives and partnerships with Asia-based Internet companies to get a foothold in the region. The potential benefit is in tapping a burgeoning market of consumers just getting onto the Internet and looking for ways to navigate.