Chapter-e.com enters cyber-education market

Singapore, 6 December 1999 – SESDAQ-listed publisher Panpac Media.com Limited and National Computer Systems Pte Ltd (NCS) have set up a joint venture company Chapter-e.

Singapore, 6 December 1999 – SESDAQ-listed publisher Panpac Media.com Limited and National Computer Systems Pte Ltd (NCS) have set up a joint venture company Chapter-e.com to market education-based products and services online in the Asia Pacific region.

Under the terms of the joint venture, NCS and Panpac Media.com will initially be injecting a total amount of S$1 million in cash into Chapter-e.com, in return for respective stakes of 51% and 49% (S$510,000 and S$490,000) respectively. Preparation for the venture has taken almost a year, discussions having been held with Singapore's Ministry of Education, the National Computer Board (now part of the Infocomm Development Authorities) and Kent Ridge Digital Labs -- the three co-developers and co-owners of the original eduMall -- and its existing 'tenants' made up mainly of providers of educational products and services.

Both NCS and Panpac Media.com envisage that within the next two years, Chapter-e.com will firmly establish eduMall as "The Educational Site" in Singapore, thereafter extending its reach across the Asia Pacific market.

"We intend to complement at the first level the Ministry of Education’s facilities with our innovative offering of educational and edutainment materials in www.edumall.com.sg. Through this medium, we would reach our target groups of students, parents and teachers", said Mr Lee Kwok Cheong, CEO of NCS.

"To exponentially shorten our regional roll-out process, we will be roping in strategic partners to facilitate market access and enhance our range of products and services to suit the multi-cultural audience," said Mr Thomas Yeoh, Panpac Media.com’s executive vice president, Internet operations.

Putting into perspective NCS’s latest venture, its CEO, Mr Lee Kwok Cheong said: "This strategic venture is synonymous with our overall plans to push on with our regionalization plans through joint ventures and acquisitions that facilitate access to our target markets, which include education, government, health care, logistics, banking and finance."

In addition to providing cyber-education, distance learning facilities and electronic tutorial services, Chapter-e.com will soon publish education-based products in both print and digital form, and operate e-commerce facilities for the procurement, marketing, import and distribution of education-related products. These include textbooks, reference and school supplementary materials, non-fiction and fiction books, gifts and novelties, and electronic gadgets.

Registration for www.edumall.com.sg is free for all visitors wishing to access the E-Pet, forum, and auction features. Each registered user will be entitled to a free pager.

EduMall aims to be a resource hub providing value-adding educational content with an Asian perspective, and merchandise and services for teens to adult life-long learners. On-line forum discussions and chat groups are targeted to facilitate students, teachers and parents to network and develop rapport with counterparts from other schools.

Its events calendar aims to keep users informed of what is happening across schools – sports events, arts and literary exhibitions, recreation clubs, charitable initiatives and focus groups. EduMall’s online alumni will also keep users in touch with former classmates, schoolmates and teachers. EduMall’s B-to-B target market will encompass business partners such as schools, institutions of higher learning, Ministry of Education as well as book publishers, innovative learning gadgets, games and toy manufacturers.

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