Netscape increases Asia support

Netscape Communications, barely eight months old in Asia, plans to beef up support in the region.

Netscape Communications, barely eight months old in Asia, plans to beef up support in the region. The software vendor, which currently supports users through its network of distributors, will in the fourth quarter roll out second-level support in its regional offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan.

"This will make our distributors' jobs easier," says Casey Ong, Netscape's regional manager, Asean/South Asia. "Our support staff will be based in Asia, but will be linked up to our United States operations as part of Netscape's product support system."

Netscape, a relatively new presence in the region, at the moment has a staff strength of 15 people in Asia. The Singapore office, which oversees Southeast Asia, is two months old, while the Hong Kong office is only six weeks old.

With the setting up of the post-sales support team, the software company will have around 20 people in the region, Ong says.

In Singapore, Netscape is considering a greater presence in the market, either through increased channels, or through direct distribution. But plans have not been finalized, Ong says.

Meanwhile, Netscape will decide on the venue of its Asia-Pacific headquarters by the end of this year, officials say. Strong contenders for the site include Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.

"Local organisations like the Economic Development Board are very keen to explore things with us, but the Victoria state government in Australia has also made Netscape a very generous offer," Ong says. "At the end of the day, where we decide to base our AP office depends on where we can have the most strategic kind of partnership with the local government."

Netscape's vice-president of Asia/Pacific sales, Quentin Gallivan, will move to the Asia-Pacific headquarters when it is set up. Gallivan currently operates out of Netscape's corporate headquarters in California.

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