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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 technology



FEBRUARY 25, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 7

E-VESTING
Warhol and Walnuts
Good technology stocks don't have to soak up the limelight if they reflect the market at large
By JIM ERICKSON

Andy Warhol's media-age maxim has an information-age equivalent: Every business, no matter how dull and conventional, will enjoy 15 minutes of fame as an Internet play.

First into the online limelight were U.S. booksellers, grocers and media companies. Next came toys and drugs and cable-TV. Last year the attention swung to Asia and in succession lit up Australian gold mining companies, South Korean chaebol and Hong Kong real estate conglomerates. Now it's nuts. Seriously, it's nuts - a San Francisco company is trying to peddle California almonds to Asia through a website called AgEx.com. May we all be spared an outbreak of "wired farmer" business stories.

    ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
ASIAWEEK.com
VOL.2 NO.1

Cover: A Good Tech Employee Is Hard To Find

In Fashion: Cecilia Pagkalinawan Adds Style To New York's Silicon Alley

On the Road: Business Or Pleasure, It's Getting Easier To Travel And Stay Connected

Pulse: Battling Robots, Multimedia Wristwatches, Chinese Auctions and Websites That Have Something To Say

Toolbox: How To Install Linux On Your Pc

Politics.com: A Malaysian Website Makes An End Run Around Media Restrictions

Net Index: Asia's Tech Stock Bubble Has More Room To Rise

E-vesting: Online Pundit David Webb Uncovers Hong Kong Corporate Horror Stories

Assif Online: Singapore's Financial Portals Gear-Up For Online Trading

B2B: Global Traders Try To Beat The Boat

Wired Exec: Acer Whiz Goes Unplugged By Night

REGULAR ISSUE
Business Buzz: Japan -- Land of the rising Internet ad spend

Cutting Edge: If you like Apple's iBook laptop, but think its candy-colored case clashes with your macho image, then how about one in gun-metal gray?
    RELATED STORIES

Asiaweek/CNN Asian Internet Index
Track our 20 Asian internet stocks

Asiaweek Technology Home



Asiaweek/CNN Internet Index
The Asian Internet Index as of February 18, 2000, up over 172%

This succession of enterprises being touched by the Net tends to complicate the job of maintaining an Asian Internet stock index. The goal is to include shares of firms that best represent and reflect the regional growth of the Internet. That does not mean any company professing an e-commerce strategy qualifies. On the list are those offering products or services that can genuinely be enhanced through the adoption of e-commerce. Other candidates are companies in industries such as computer software and music, which are being radically transformed by the Internet because digital products can be efficiently distributed online. Excluded are companies that are simply riding the hype. Gold has to be dug out of the ground and carried in armored trucks; marketing and distribution benefits deriving from e-commerce will never be more than marginal. When tomatoes can be digitized and downloaded, we can consider adding agricultural companies to the index.




Source: Bridge Information Systems. All share prices are in local currencies

The spotlight has shifted again. Advances in wireless communications technology are bringing the Web to mobile phones, and cellular operators are enjoying their moment as Internet stocks. Valuations have been rising around the world with the introduction of Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), which allows cellphone users to access Internet content tailored for handset screens. China Telecom stock, for example, has risen 28% since late January, enough to overtake the august HSBC financial services company as the largest counter on the Hong Kong stock market. In part that's because China Telecom, the mainland's largest mobile carrier, has a fast-growing customer base. Goldman Sachs forecast subscribers will reach 21 million by year-end compared with 15.5 million in December 1999. But shares are also being bid up on well-founded expectations that wireless networks will become a new distribution platform for Internet-based services. Not convinced? The arrival of the Internet on cellphones helped drive British-based Vodafone AirTouch's $180-billion purchase of Germany's Mannesman AG, a merger that will create the world's largest mobile phone company.

To take in the trend, we've added a new company to the fast-rising Asiaweek/CNN Internet Index. It is SK Telecom, South Korea's leading mobile phone operator. Other carriers in the region were considered, including China Telecom and Japan's NTT DoCoMo. But adding a Korean company improved the geographic diversity of the 20-stock index, and SK Telecom is on the cutting edge. The company already offers WAP services through its own Internet portal, and is quickly developing high-speed wireless transmission technologies that could put video cellphones in commercial service in 2002. SK Telecom replaced Wharf Holdings in the 20-stock index. Hong Kong-based Wharf late last year spun off its cable-TV and high-speed Internet access service, thus disqualifying itself as an Internet marker.

SK Telecom along with the index's best and worst performers since Jan. 1 are highlighted in the charts below. More information is available on the Web at www.asiaweek.com/techindex. The Index is also featured on CNN's BizAsia show airing throughout the region at 6.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. (Hong Kong time) and on Asia Business Morning between 6.30 a.m. and 9 a.m. weekdays.

Technology Home | Asiaweek Home

AsiaNow


A Tale of Two Net Stocks: China.com shares rocketed, but it was Japan's Trend Micro - a rare profitable Net play - that led the way (December 3, 1999)

Taking Stock of Tech: After a shaky start, the Asiaweek.com Portfolio found its legs. Now the index includes two racier Internet companies (October 1, 1999)

The Asiaweek.com Portfolio A list of 20 Asian stocks that are, or aspire to be, Internet and information technology players (June 25, 1999)

Quick Scroll: More stories and related stories
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