Fri, 11 Feb 2000

Singapore Internet portal expands into Indonesia

JAKARTA (JP): Singapore-based Internet search engine portal Catcha Group announced on Thursday the operation of its Indonesian branch,

Catcha Group chief operating officer and cofounder Nic Lim said would initially focus on its service as a localized content search engine portal featuring over 8,000 Indonesian Web sites, as well as 60,000 Southeast Asian Web sites.

"We are going to provide e-commerce services at at a later time when we see quite an adequate demand and a mature market for it," he said at a media conference.

Lim said Catcha Group had spent at least US$100,000 in establishing its business in Indonesia and allocated in its 2000 budget some $2 million to further develop

He said the group was upbeat about the potential Internet market in Indonesia and planned to strengthen its presence here through the strategic acquisition of local Internet companies.

He said negotiations on the acquisitions were expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

The Catcha Group entered Indonesia in mid-1999 when it acquired local search engine, which was later renamed

Lim said was expected to generate approximately $250,000 in revenue from advertisements this year, adding this figure should increase to $750,000 in 2001.

"We are very confident about our business in Indonesia. It will grow tremendously to enable us reaching the break-even point within only three years," he said., which began operations several months ago, offers a search engine in Indonesian and English to allow users to access Indonesian and foreign Web sites.

"We intend to provide what the Indonesian Internet market currently lacks; a comprehensive medium which both Indonesian and worldwide Internet users can use to locate quality Indonesian Web sites," Lim said.

He added that users could also obtain through the latest information from such sources as Singapore's Stock Exchange Dow Jones Newswires.

In addition to Indonesia, Catcha Group, which claims to be the first localized content-focused search engine portal in Southeast Asia, has also established search engine networks in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. (cst)