TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AOL Tests Chinese US Site; Quiet on China Market

AOL Tests Chinese US Site; Quiet on China Market

Kenneth Li (
Mon, 13 Feb 2006 20:43:34 -0600

By Kenneth Li

America Online on Monday said it has launched a public test of a
Chinese-language version of its U.S. Web site to court Chinese
Americans, offering features that in some ways are more ambitious than
its main U.S. site.

The new site targets an estimated 2.7 million Chinese Americans and
offers full-length features and episodes of TV series from China,
viewable directly off the site. AOL's main U.S. site plans to offer
vintage TV shows, but does not offer full length movies.

Up to 20 hours of video will be available at any time. It can be found

The online unit of Time Warner Inc., the world's largest media
company, is racing to bolster its online advertising business by
making more video and services available for free as it staves off
losses at its paid subscription Internet service.

A spokeswoman said AOL planned to focus on its U.S.-based target
audience and has not announced intentions to re-enter the China

The company, which has over 25.5 million subscribers in the United
States and Europe, announced a joint venture with Chinese PC
manufacturer Legend Holdings in June 2001 to court China's growing
market, which it abandoned a year later.

By 2004, Jonathan Miller, chief executive of AOL told Reuters at the
time the company was in discussions to enter the Chinese market again.

Technology and Internet companies Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news),
Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. have come under
fire in recent months for concessions they have made to comply with
government policies in the world's fastest growing market.

Yahoo gave information to Chinese authorities that led to the
imprisonment of an Internet writer, according to defense
lawyers. Google in recent weeks launched a China-version of its site
that edits politically sensitive search results.

Google has been criticized for creating a version of its site that
blocks politically sensitive terms. Microsoft has been taken to task
for shutting down a blog critical of China.

This week, technology companies will answer to congressional leaders
at a hearing on U.S. companies operating in China.

For now, AOL is focused on the U.S. market and said it worked with
U.S.-based MediaZone, owners of, which provides high
speed Internet video programming geared toward overseas Chinese

AOL's Web-based e-mail services will also available in Chinese, the
company said.

The site and its services features pages in traditional and simplified
Chinese characters.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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