Internet

AOL Tries For Hong Kong

Days after stepping into Taiwan in a Herculean attempt to compete with local Web portals, AOL has now established a Hong Kong presence with the launch of an AOL.hk web domain.

With a total population of only about seven million, Hong Kong is not an area that AOL can expect to earn lots of revenue. However it is an important psychological and strategic bid for the company as it hopes to jumpstart its America Online name and bring American business hegemony to Greater China netizens. The company will provide email, instant messaging, and regional content from local partners on this Hong Kong destination.

"The launch of AOL.hk is just the beginning of an ongoing effort to provide consumers in Hong Kong with the services and content they want," warned Norman Koo, VP and general manager for Greater China, in a press statement. "Our industry-leading products and programming combined with our content partnerships will provide a unique experience for consumers and advertisers, as well as an international, regional and local mix of news, finance and entertainment information."

Similar to a deal announced in Taiwan, AOL will provide a co-branded language portal for users of HP desktop and notebook PC's in Hong Kong. This deal will assist AOL in claiming to advertisers a certain amount of users and help to create greater brand equity.

3 Comments

  1. AOL's last attempt to set up shop in Hong Kong was a fiasco. Now, it has the guts to try again and repeat its failure!

    Those who signed up with AOL's dial-up Internet accesss and email service in Hong Kong after 1999 will still remember how it all came to a bitter end. After a few years AOL failed to kick start its business (which it contracted out to its China partner CIC) in the former British city colony, it told its Hong Kong users to BYOA (i.e, bring your own access) while it continued to provide them with free email service.

    Then one day without warning, AOL terminated email access to all its Hong Kong users – and I was one of the unlucky ones. I lost access to my primary email account, record of all my email correspondence, and my entire email contact list. My business as well as my social life suffered. But the most outrageous thing was the Time Warner office in Hong Kong denied any responsibility – and that was before AOL was spun off as a separate unit. Complainants who turned up in person at the Time Warner office were instructed to make a long distance call to AOL in the United States to negotiate a way out.

    AOL will surely hope that its former Hong Kong users will have forgotten and forgiven the way with which it mishandled itself, but I can assure you customers have a long memory when it comes to corporate arrogance and incompetence.

  2. Has anyone ever told AOL that maybe they should change their name when operating outside of the USA?

    American government has hegemony on their agenda and it looks bad for a company named AMERICA ONLINE to pillage Asia.

    It appears like a public relations nightmare waiting to happen.

    -Ian

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