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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek story

FEBRUARY 11, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 5

Singapore Success Story
By ASSIF SHAMEEN

    ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Cover: Change Is in the Air
The Internet education of Raymond Kwok
Extended online interview
Why property mogul Raymond Kwok is eyeing the Internet
Spreading the Risk
It's either bricks to clicks or the deep six

Selling with Style
How Japan's Egoist fashion outlets popped to the top in the retailing business

Investing
Already at record highs, Singaporean stocks may still surge

Viewpoint
Until Gus Dur reforms immigration, battle the Indonesian system

South Korea: Revolt of the Citizens
A blacklisting campaign shocks lawmakers

Pakistan: Of Rhetoric and Reality
Why Pakistan is not declared a terrorist state

India: 'Pakistan Unpredictable'
But India can hold its ground, says Fernandes

Indonesia: Washington on Wahid
America's top man on East Asia applauds Indonesia's president

Thailand: The Enemy on the Border
More than anyone else, it's Myanmar United Wa State Army that threatens Thailand's security

Turn your addiction into a business. That's what Malaysian-born, Singapore-based Dr. Michael Leung did. Frustrated by the lack of information for amateur day-traders in Asia, Leung, 38, launched SingaporeInvestor.com. nine months ago. Recently renamed ShareInvestor.com, the site has over 60,000 registered users and on a good day gets up to 75,000 page views. A Korean-language site is in the works. Leung sends 50,000 e-mails a day to users when news or rumors about the their favorite stock comes up. Not bad for a guy who knew nothing about contents or finance when he set out in 1999. Leung's goal: build a community of Asian investors. His method: total involvement. "For eight months I ate and drank at my computer desk. Even though I was at home my kids didn't get to see much of me because I locked myself in the room, staring at the screen." He spent less than $10,000 on the venture and his only help was two students who spotted the site and offered him some software advice. "I had no business plan, no revenues, no advertising," Leung admits. But he had a good hunch of what guys like him wanted. "When I started there was no portal in Asia where I could chat with other investors like myself or share rumors or gossip and hear about all the market speculation as well as the official announcements and data." In December, an angel investor plumped down $1.2 million for a 30% stake in the company. Now another is buying in for $3.6 million. Others are queuing up. It's a problem: "I really don't need the money. If I get too many investors it will dilute my equity and I'll lose my independence." Leung just hired his first two employees and is looking for more. Now that he has the money he is also trying his hand at advertising. "So far everything has been word of mouth. Now I have been advised we have to be like an old-economy company that must do things like sales and marketing." Leung believes his success was based on the fact that he wasn't a financial industry insider peddling his wares but "we have reached a stage where I need professional help from the financial industry." What of his new paper-millionaire status? "I started this as a hobby so money I make from this is just a bonus - not that I am selling my shares. I don't even have an exit strategy."

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

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