AIN Offers Community Info To International Business

Kuala Lumpur, 25 Nov 99 (MSC Times) -Thinking of expanding your business by going regional or international? Have you identified the country but need more concise and unbiased details?

Kuala Lumpur, 25 Nov 99 (MSC Times) -Thinking of expanding your business by going regional or international? Have you identified the country but need more concise and unbiased details? Why not click your mouse and find it all on the Net.

MSC-status Asia Information Network (M) Sdn Bhd (AIN) is offering online business information on the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East to the international business community.

AIN ( is the first of seven planned regional nodes for a worldwide network which, when completed, will cover most of the exporting countries in the world.

The company aims to provide reliable business and trade opportunity information to the international business community.

To date, it has a database which encompasses 34 countries within Asia and the Middle East (refer to Table 1).

Its basic business concept addresses the difficulties faced by businesses, local or foreign, in getting timely and factual information from governments, public agencies, commercial organizations and business entities. This in essence means that much of the data used in making business decisions are based on assumptions or at best educated opinions.

With the introduction of AIN's service, businesses have access to all kinds of trade, investment and business related data on 34 countries, including trade directories and market/consumer research reports by an independent third party.

AIN provides three types of service:

  • Standard web-based database service - a HTML-based database presented in current summarized business-oriented information.

  • Regular database service ?a text-based database using proprietary search protocol to retrieve and display business information. The information is maintained in both summary and detailed segments.

  • Specialized research database - a detailed historical text-based database.

The regular database service and specialized research database both use proprietary search protocol to retrieve and display business information and are maintained in both summary and detailed segments.

Says Raja Nurulnazatul Sheha Azman, AIN business development manager, "We do not undertake detailed analysis or reports but obtain them from our business partners. Much of the information is widely available while we at AIN make it more convenient for businesses by compiling the data in one location.

"As such, businesses need not waste time going through the numerous documents generated by commercial search engines or economic information portal."

The service offered covers business subjects only and steers clear of anything that is deemed illegal under any local laws (refer to Table 3).

To date, AIN's site boasts of 78,000 hits a day and prides itself in not carrying any form of advertisements as it views itself as a serious business site.

Says Francis Nantha, AIN's business editor, "Our target audience is the Fortune Magazine top 10,000 corporations and as such the site is not intended to cater to the average individual or student."

The company does not charge for information in its databank but there is a charge for access time at
rates depending on which service is opted for (refer to Table 2).

According to AIN's director John Mead, the whole idea of the databank is to facilitate quick business decisions.

"With our service, corporations will become more familiar with what Asian countries have to offer and thus be in a better position to have a more reasoned decision making process when it comes to trade, marketing and long term investments in the region."

Asked to comment on the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), Mead says the concept is good and the incentives offered necessary as they will enable start-ups to flourish. However he cautions that commercialization will take time.

"Ultimately, it is the pricing and the infrastructure at the MSC that will determine whether it can support businesses," adds Mead.

Presently self-funded, AIN is looking to increase its capitalization to RM2 million. Mead says it does not really require additional funding but should it come its way, it would be welcomed.

He is of the opinion that should the company need funds, it would not approach the local banks as they tend to be conservative and rigid. On the other hand, he says, the local venture capitalists "are too slow".

He notes that funds from government agencies are difficult as more often than not they want board and management representation.

"Should we require funds, it is more likely that we will approach the foreign venture capitalists as they would be able to give more support when we ultimately seek a listing on NASDAQ," he adds.

Country Coverage - Table 1

Australia Bahrain Bangladesh
Brunei Burma Cambodia
China Hong Kong India
Iran Japan Kuwait
Malaysia Laos Jordan
Pakistan New Zealand Macau
Qatar P. New Guinea Oman
Sri Lanka Saudi Arabia Philippines
United States Taiwan Singapore
Korea-South Vietnam Thailand
Egypt Solomon Islands Indonesia

Database Access Price - Table 2
Standard Web-Based Database Service
Web Access Service ?40 hours
Web Access Service ?80 hours
Regular Database Service
Package of 20 access hours
Package of 50 access hours
Package of 100 access hours
Specialized Research Database
Package of 50 access hours
Package of 100 access hours
Package of 200 access hours

Country Profile - Table 3
Overview Banking Business Risks
Climate Culture Currency
Disputes Economics Educational
Environmental External Trade Financial
Geography Government History
Holidays Infrastructure Language
Legal System Investment Political System
International Aid Natural Resources Intellectual Property
Population Religion Tax System

(Nov 25, 1999)