Volume 1, Issue 02 - Non US-based Dominance in an EC Space 1999 trend #09: Will see a non US-based player dominating some EC space

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Subject: 1.02: Non US-based Dominance in an EC Space

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Theme: A non U.S.-based player dominates some EC space trend #9:  Will see a non U.S.-based player dominating some EC space

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Subject: 1.2:  A non U.S.-based player dominates some EC space

Let me talk a bit about this month's trend. My #9 prediction for 1999 is that a non U.S.-based player dominates some EC space.

During the first half of this century when the US invented and dominated the automotive industry, there was little talk about "imports", as Japan and other automotive producing countries were not yet on the map. The US automotive industry essentially played by the same rules. Without pressure to dramatically change the way cars were made, the industry got lazy, production processes were not improved and, as a result, less-expensive, higher-quality automobiles started showing up in the US marketplace.

Thus far, the US has dominated the use of the Internet mainly due to two major developments. A primary reason being that the technology was invented in the US, however, it was the swiftness of companies and individuals willing to adopt and apply the technology in their day-to-day activities that provide us the lead. But the US shouldn't expect this to continue forever.

Although not universally adopted within Europe, the introduction of the EURO as a common currency represents more than a change in a monetary unit of measure. The localized "single-country" mind-set that was once a common aspect of the various cultures, is being washed away with a more global European one. This is a big deal. Other cultural norms, such as the universal adoption of smart cards, provide Europe with the opportunity to introduce and adopt new Internet standards and usage features faster than the US.

For example, many of us hate the numerous usernames and passwords that are needed to log into every system that we use. When smart cards can be incorporated into the authentication process, Europeans will be given an easier way to prove their identity. Ease-of-use would propogate the adoption of EC in Europe at a speed far beyond where the US is today.

Whether it's smart cards, the EURO, or a government funneling billions of dollars into it's economy to propel eCommerce development, companies should be aware of EC dynamics occurring outside the US and respond accordingly.



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Virgin Group Goes E-commerce
Richard Branson's Virgin Group, whose far-flung empire includes airlines, music, hotels, movie theaters, and trains is taking the E-commerce plunge. The British entrepreneur also plans to drop the monthly subscription fee from his UK-based Internet access business, Virgin Net, and--in his typically flamboyant fashion--is challenging America Online in the process.


Half of French Small Businesses Online
In a seminar on E-commerce in Paris, the French Minister for Finance, Srauss-Kahn, announced that 50 percent of all small companies in France are now online. This is twice the amount of small businesses online in 1997.


A Swedish Model for Sales: Hold the Content
When looking at successful Web retailers, it is common to argue that tailored offerings, specialized information and community-building features and tools are what makes the difference between success and failure. Now from Sweden comes an anti-Amazon, a small company called Boxman that contradicts most of the current assumptions about Web retail.


PricewaterhouseCoopers: European CEOs Evaluate E-commerce
While 54 percent of European CEOs expect E-commerce to reshape competition in their industry, only 20 percent describe themselves as regular Internet users, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.


Most senior execs have a hand in Net strategy
A large majority -- 76% -- of CEOs in traditional consumer businesses participate in the strategic decisions for their online initiatives. But only 24% of the total view these initiatives as an integrated part of their core business, according to a new study from by Jupiter Communications.


US is Beating the Patents Off Australia
Ways of doing business on the internet are rapidly getting tied up in US patents and Australian firms looking to trade on the Internet had better get patents of their own if they want to avoid paying hefty licensing fees, a leading patent attorney has warned.


European Ruling Could Outlaw Web Caching
Web-access costs could rise by an average of 67 percent in Europe if an attempt by the European Parliament to outlaw Web caching is successful.


Legal Swamp for Euro E-commerce
A melange of conflicting laws has put the brakes on European E-commerce, and formal collaboration between government and business is the only way out of the mess. That was the conclusion of a report by market-research house Forrester Research.


Art and E-Commerce: Sotheby's Signs Up Dealers
Auction house Sotheby's has said that it has signed up 1,500 art dealers in the United States and Europe for its new Internet site and will allow them to trade their wares online starting in July.


Asia's Culture Hampers Net Commerce
The 27-year-old Hong Kong account likes to shop and does so every day for an hour or two. But he doesn't spend time on his personal computer and that makes him a drag for Asian Internet retailers.


Saudi Arabia Opens Up Internet Access
Saudi Arabia has licensed 37 companies to provide Internet access, seven are already in operation and 85,000 subscribers are expected online by the end of the year. Women have also been granted permission to go online at the country's first Internet cafe, the Cafe de Paris in Jeddah.


Louvre to Launch Online Gift Shop
Thanks to a project led by the Reunion des Musees Nationaux (RMN), three famous French museums will soon open virtual boutiques on the Web.


E-commerce Not Meeting Demands of UK Net Users
Durlacher's Quarterly Internet Report finds many UK Internet users feel their web service lacking. One quarter (25%) cited a lack of sites offering the services they wanted.


E-commerce study slams Web sites
A new study examining online stores finds that they fall behind traditional stores when it comes to   making the shopping experience as painless as possible.


Buy Your Fridge on the Web
Sears, Roebuck and Co., the nation's second largest retailer, said Wednesday it will offer 2,000 major appliances for sale on the Internet this spring, representing the largest selection of appliances available online.


Scrambling at the Online Mall
From a public relations standpoint, the decision by Victoria's Secret to put its annual Manhattan fashion show on its new Internet site early this month was an unqualified master stroke.


New insurance could be boon to e-commerce
eBay Inc., the San Jose-based online auctioneer, is the first Internet commerce business to take advantage of a new insurance product offered through a Belmont brokerage.


Army Air Force Exchange Service Catalogs Online
The new military clothing catalogs from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service are available on the Internet at The Internet catalog provides shopping convenience to active duty and reserve-component service members who live miles from military clothing stores.


Web Shopping Service Targets Kids
A new World Wide Web shopping service hopes to make a name for itself by giving the shoppers of tomorrow the ability to buy today. Set to launch March 1, has its sights set on attracting the attention and marketing might of a small yet potentially powerful audience of cybershoppers: kids.


MIT: E-Commerce Just Beginning
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts -- The Web-induced transformation of retail has not yet begun, MIT's leading thinker on intelligent software agents said Tuesday. "If you really look at the way we do e-commerce today, I think it's actually not really a revolution in the way we transact goods and services," Pattie Maes told a crowd of nearly 200 gathered here for a lecture.


Sites Redefine Buying Online
Few overseas auctions are up and running, but the "eBay effect" is still young, driven by the online auction site's successful IPO in September, which took the company's stock from 18 points to a high of 321 in just a few months. Since then, stock prices have risen for virtually any publicly traded company that mentions "cyber-auction."




International E-Commerce: Speaking the Customer's Language  
by Bill Dunlap (

Two dynamic forces of our time--globalization and the online movement--continue to flourish in English-speaking countries. However, a tremendous export market exists in addressing foreign markets, as going global is no longer considered an alternative but a necessity for business survival. If your business has not gone global, you can bet that your competitors have a plan to get there, regardless of their geographical location.

The Web has helped remove barriers between countries, but there are still numerous opportunities to address foreign markets. Today, there are only 7 countries where English is the primary language spoken, some half a billion people, and where the combined economies represent 30% of the world's economy. The combined populations of these countries represent 8% of the world's population. Companies that continue to target this small fraction of the world market will miss out on capturing a large potential market.

According to the latest statistics (, 91 million people access the Internet from English-speaking countries, whereas 75 million people access the Internet in other languages. In 1997 the latter group  represented only 10 million people--a seven-fold increase in less than two years.

Early this year, European currencies merged to become the Euro, a move that stands to phase out local European currencies by the year 2002. The Euro will enhance competition by forcing companies to concentrate on price, quality, and production. Best for Internet vendors, the Euro will make it easier for non European companies to enter European markets, and will make it easier for a small company to target most of the European market.

Unfortunately, American businesses usually have a parochial viewpoint, and consider international sales "gravy". They brag that without any translation to their Website, they already have 20% of their traffic from other countries (which usually means English-speaking countries). The fact is, when the world market is properly developed, sales from other countries should be twice that of the US. For every $1,000,000 of US sales, a passive approach gives $200,000 in export sales, whereas an active approach to developing foreign markets gives $2,000,000 in sales. Ten times as much! This simple calculation shows the potential being missed by not taking foreign markets seriously.

Europeans and Asians have used multiple languages for centuries when selling to one another, recognizing that marketing occurs in the language of the target market. As Willy Brandt, the former German chancellor, once said: "If I'm selling to you, I speak your language. If I'm buying, dann muessen Sie Deutsch sprechen [then you must speak German]."

Recent figures from the Gartner Group state that 80% of European based corporate sites are multi-lingual. With a limited number of U.S.-based multi-lingual Websites available, who do you think will have a better chance of capturing the international online market?  






Company Eases EURO into Worldwide eCommerce Market
CitX Corp. recently launched a new Internet e-commerce service called IntraEuroX, designed to enable users to automatically triangulate, convert and conduct financial transactions in the form of the Euro and/or other mixed currencies.


Japan beefs up cyber-patrols
AT a secret location somewhere in Tokyo, dozens of specialists in cryptography and electronic media will soon be hard at work patrolling cyberspace. Due to open by July 1999, the new headquarters for the National Police Agency's ``cyber-cop'' squad signals growing concern about computer security as more and more Japanese join the global on-line revolution.


Japan Chip Identifies Fingerprints
A newly developed computer chip can quickly identify fingerprints to help safeguard electronic money cards, portable phones and other electronic devices, the chip's creator said.


Free ISPs Taking Over in UK
The United Kingdom is awash in free Internet access.


Certificate Authorities: The Keys to E-commerce?
New CA services in the Asia-Pacific should help secure Web transactions. But can they be trusted? E-commerce is no longer the future of business-it's the present. Too bad authenticating customers seems like a job that will last well beyond tomorrow.


eCommerce Goes to Bermuda
Internet-based merchants stand to gain the most from going offshore because it is relatively easy for them to set up They are the first generation of merchants who can choose their business domicile. With the right corporate structure in place, these companies can select the jurisdiction under which their profits are settled and taxed.


Dow Jones Introduces Internet Index
Dow Jones Indexes introduced its Internet Index, a 40-stock benchmark to measure performance of Internet stocks. The index includes only companies that generate a minimum of 50 percent of their revenues from the Internet.


Polaroid Puts the Finger on E-commerce Security
While Intel struggles with a public relation fiasco in its attempt to provide improved E-commerce security in its upcoming Pentium III chip, Polaroid has announced what might prove to be a superior method for online shopper authentication.


Proposed E-Bill Guidelines
The National Automated Clearing House Association and the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat announced guidelines for electronic bill presentment and payment, an emerging arena that allows consumers to view as well as pay their bills on the Internet.


NASA May Set Standard for Web Business
A World Wide Web-based procurement system designed and used by NASA soon may become the single point of entry for information on government wide contracting opportunities.


Microsoft Move Sparks Controversy over Web Standards
Many Web site developers were angered earlier this month when they learned that the Microsoft Corp. had received a patent covering a fundamental technology adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium, a nonprofit group working to standardize the Web.


Measuring One-to-One Efforts
One-to-one marketing has many faces: Targeted content, direct marketing with e-mail, targeted advertising. All, of course, represent extra effort on the part of marketers, making some of you wonder aloud just when it is that you are going to enjoy the ROI results one-to-one experts claim are possible.




Mondex Snares Buyers for Japan Franchise
Electronic commerce group Mondex International has snared cards giant JCB and one of the world's biggest banks, Sanwa Bank, to buy the Japanese franchise for its smartcard technology.


VeriSign Secures Netcenter E-commerce
VeriSign and Netscape have teamed to offer secure E-commerce services on Netscape's popular Web portal Netcenter. To Buy BuyDirect Inc. agreed to buy for $133.6 million in stock, or 5.4 million shares, in a move to bolster its online retailing business.


Compaq Buys Zip2
Compaq continues its buying spree: The company announced Tuesday that it will acquire Zip2, and that it has finalized terms of last month's acquisition of Signs AOL, Excite Deals
Online pharmacy announced distribution deals with American Online and Excite, as the competition gears up for a battle in this emerging market.


Providian Buys
In a bid to boost its online presence, Providian Financial has agreed to acquire consumer lending site for $33 million in cash. Providian provides loans and credit cards to more than 8 million customers and intends to use the acquisition to expand its business across the Internet. Buys Acuity's ichat
Software provider said that it has agreed to buy the ichat product line from Acuity Corporation, expanding its reach in online communities. ichat, with one of the largest customer bases of its kind, provides real-time chat, message boards, and instant messaging. Buys Auction, which runs an Internet auction for luxury items, bought Great Gatsby's Auction Gallery for about $39 million in stock as it expands its collection.


Egghead Soars on MSN Deal
Shares of rocketed as much as 18 percent higher in morning trading after the company announced it has been signed as a premier computer software merchant on Microsoft's Web portal MSN.



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