Yahoo speaks in new languages

Internet giant introduces sites with localized language and content for Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.

SINGAPORE--Yahoo today launched three new front pages which are localized for online users in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.

The portals provide localized e-mail, search, and content such as news and entertainment, said Larry Jordan, Yahoo's director of product management for Southeast Asia. Previously available only in English, the sites for Indonesia and Vietnam are now available in the respective local languages, while the Philippines site is in English.

Reza Behnam, managing director of Yahoo Southeast Asia, noted that this region continues to be an important region to Yahoo. Various governments, including those in Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, are rolling out broadband initiatives. These activities will drive the number of Internet users in Southeast Asia, he added.

Currently, about 10 percent of Yahoo's global user community are located in Southeast Asia, which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. About 60 percent of its users are based outside of the United States.

According to Behnam, Yahoo currently will focus on developing new products for its Southeast Asian markets, including plans to introduce a local language version for its users in Thailand within the next six months. He added that the company will then look at penetrating new markets such as Cambodia in due course, but did not give a specific timeframe.

The Internet player will also introduce Yahoo Go, a service that integrates applications on the Internet and mobile phones, in the region "very soon", said Jordan. Users of this service can, for example, take a picture on their mobile phone and view it simultaneously on the Web. Other upcoming offerings that Yahoo is looking to launch in Southeast Asia include 360°, which lets users create their own Web page with a blog component.

Behnam added that plans to have the company's popular instant messaging service interoperate with Microsoft's MSN Messenger is also likely to be on schedule for release in the second quarter of this year.


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