CompuServe expanding in Asia with local versions

CompuServe expects to start up early next year at least two local versions of its online service in the Asia-Pacific region.

As part of what company officials call an "aggressive international expansion", CompuServe expects to start up early next year at least two local versions of its online service in the Asia-Pacific region.

Specific plans for the unidentified markets are being ironed out this week by CompuServe officials on an Asia tour, says Steven Stanbrook, president, international at CompuServe.

"We have two countries that are in active negotiations and another two that are on our radar screen," Stanbrook says. The operations will involve local partners that will set up a local-language version of CompuServe similar to Japan's NiftyServe, a CompuServe- based online service customised for the Japanese market, he says.

The localisation strategy is founded on CompuServe's belief that an early entry into a market can mean success, Stanbrook says "Those who get there first always have a better chance of winning," he says.

The strategy appears to have worked in Japan where early-comer NiftyServe -- a CompuServe licensee and joint venture between Fujitsu and trading company Nissho Iwai -- is the second largest online service with more than 2 million users.

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