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Lycos Asia mail offers usernames in Chinese

Users of Lycos Asia's Web-based email service now have the option to adopt Chinese usernames in traditional and simplified Chinese characters for their email addresses.

SINGAPORE--Users of Lycos Asia's Web-based email service now have the option to adopt Chinese usernames in traditional and simplified Chinese characters for their email addresses.

In a statement yesterday, the company said whenever a user signs up for its multi-lingual Web-based email service, known as cOntact, the user can choose to have his or her email address in the following way: Chinese username@lycosasia.com.

cOntact also offers a free suite of communication services in English, Thai, simplified and traditional Chinese.

For a start, its Chinese email address service is available to users in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan for free for the first year.

The company has tied up with locally-based multi-lingual messaging solutions provider i-EMAIL.net to launch the new service.

The Chinese email address service is available at Lycos Asia's portal sites in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

When contacted yesterday, Lycos Asia director for product management Adrian Lee said that previously, users to its multi-lingual Web-based email service could only use English usernames for their email addresses.

When asked if the company would charge users after the first year, he said: "We'll look at the user response and work out the best way to package this value-added service."

Lee explained that email directed to a user's multi-lingual or English usernames would go into the same Lycos Asia cOntact account mailbox.

He said Lycos Asia sees great potential for its multi-lingual username service. Citing an International Data Corp survey on Web language preference, he said the research firm observed that 80 percent of Internet users in Asia preferred to access the Web using their mother tongues.

"It will be an advantage for us now to get more users to our cOntact service," Lee said.

He said regional Internet portal Lycos Asia will also be launching a similar email address service in Thai a month from now. "If the take-up rate is good and if users like the concept of having multi-lingual email usernames, we'll consider launching it on other languages as well," he said.

Meanwhile, Lee also said the company would consider launching a multi-lingual domain email service "when multi-lingual domains become popular at the end of the year".