ChinaOnline a big hit after Reuters deal

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 November, 1998, 12:00am

ChinaOnline, a Chicago-based on-line news and analysis website providing business intelligence, gained access to an extra 12,000 potential corporate users this weekend after forming an alliance with Reuters.

Under the link, effective from last Saturday, clients are able to access information on mainland business daily.

'We have hundreds of thousands of hits [daily] but this (Reuters deal) will really take us out to the next level,' ChinaOnline president and chief executive Lyric Hughes said in Hong Kong.

Ms Hughes said ChinaOnline was set up because there was no mainland website in English, although there were many in Chinese.

'People who don't know Chinese would be blocked. ChinaOnline is not intended for Chinese but for mainly American corporations.' The company, which charges an individual monthly subscription fee of US$50, is also talking to 10 other news organisations to link up the site.

ChinaOnline is backed by several venture-capital firms, the main one being Chicago-based Ark Capital which focuses on women and minorities in business and which is funded by Bank of America, Toyota, and several big pension firms such as Allstate Insurance.

'Three or four years ago when I worked with Microsoft, I learnt a lot about the Internet. I saw the Internet, and I saw the increasing information flow from China, and I saw that American companies had an increasing need for the information,' Ms Hughes said.

She put aside her consulting business and built a company 'that people could use independently of her', through which she could distribute information effectively and inexpensively.

A long-term relationship with the mainland media also helped her in establishing a intelligence service.