Dotcoms to 'die off like the dinosaurs'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2000, 12:00am

Did you hear the latest theory about how the dinosaurs became extinct? They died off when all the venture capitalists left.

Some business leaders are preaching a brand of digital Darwinism, saying only the fittest companies will survive now that investment money has dried up.

'Most dotcoms will die off over time, just like the dinosaurs,' said Steve Hsia, chief executive of CyberTouch Asia. 'The theory that everything must evolve or become extinct still hasn't changed.'

Mr Hsia told a sparse audience of 24 at Internet World Asia the lack of interest in his presentation was further proof online companies were doomed unless they adapted to a new business climate.

He said last year he had several hundred people hear him speak on a similar topic. 'There were dotcom people on one side and people looking to invest on the other side, it was like an orgy. Now look at it,' he said.

Mr Hsia said the companies still cash-rich from successful public offerings also were in danger of folding as a healthy bank accounts isolated executives from the need to revamp operations before they ran out of money.

Outblaze founder Yat Siu said survival would require a 'back-to-basics' approach by Internet companies, most of which had gone from boom to bust in a matter of months without having a chance to mature.

Mr Siu said investors expected to see profit within one year of start up, so companies needed to have a solid base from the start, not just a good idea.

He said the hot trends for companies that wanted to survive included buying off-the-shelf technology instead of developing it, forging alliances with international partners, and selling home-grown products and services.

'We used to look to the United States as the place where all the good technology came from. But people in New Jersey are not going to be able to develop things for people in Hong Kong because they don't understand what is going on here,' Mr Siu said.