China Internet Corp (CIC) has agreed to a deal to run a localised version of Netscape's Internet site for the mainland market. CIC will create and manage Netscape's Chinese home page and provide business and financial content. A launch date has not been announced. The Hong Kong-based firm is gearing up to be a leading provider of Internet content in China. CIC runs an on-line business information service called the China Wide Web, and is also setting up a 'push' Internet service, PointCast Asia. The site will feature Netscape content and services converted into simplified Chinese such as In-Box Direct, which sends pre-selected on-line publications to users via e-mail, and Channel Finder, which provides Internet-related news reports from various resources. 'One of the big problems with China's Internet right now . . . is that there is not a great deal of Internet content in the Chinese language,' said Alex Lanceley, CIC spokesman. 'What this will do is bring a lot more content into the Chinese language.' CIC will seek localised sources for material, such as Chinese language on-line publications for In-Box Direct. CIC planned to earn revenue through selling Web advertising and by reselling Netscape software to companies which subscribed to CIC services such as the China Wide Web, Mr Lanceley said. The CIC-Netscape deal comes just two months after PointCast Asia, a CIC operation, agreed to provide content for the updated version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), a rival of Netscape's browser. Under that alliance, PointCast - a 'push' service that will bring information to users in a screensaver-like format - joined a handful of Hong Kong-based IE content providers including the South China Morning Post. PointCast Asia, expected to be in full operation by the end of this year, was formed from an alliance by CIC and US-based Pointcast Inc. It was being run as a separate entity to CIC's China Wide Web service, Mr Lanceley said, despite the fact that former Microsoft (HK) managing director Laurie Kan is both the managing director of PointCast Asia and chief operating officer of CIC. Netscape said it would stay out of the content business and thus out of competition with customers which were content providers. Netscape's Chinese Web site, however, will provide links to news and information organisations, as its English-language site does. 'The line is fuzzy,' said Savio Chow, Netscape North Asia general manager. He said that Netscape would focus on being a Web tool, unlike Microsoft, which runs the MSNBC on-line news Web page. 'Microsoft is very clear that they are in the content provider business,' Mr Chow said. 'We want to pull people to Netscape's business partners,' company chief executive James Barksdale said. In turn, Netscape would give CIC 'access to a lot of their software technology' which would be used in the China Wide Web, Mr Lanceley said. CIC will ensure that the China Netscape site conforms to mainland laws which ban anti-nationalist content. It already does this with China Web content providers Reuter, Bloomberg, the Financial Times and Nikkei Business. Privately owned CIC runs on a high-speed network owned by China's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.