Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Yahoo Localizes Services for the Philippines

This just in from Robert de Quelen of Eon:

Yahoo! Localizes Services for the Philippines
Front Page, Search, Mail, News, Entertainment and Sports now more relevant

MANILA, 22 March 2006 – Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced the launch of a new Yahoo! local Front Page site for the Philippines. The new site aims to make Yahoo! the most relevant entry point to the Internet for the millions of Filipinos that are living at home and abroad.

The new Yahoo! local Front Page for the Philippines is available at

In addition to the new local Front Pages, Yahoo! has been updating its communications and content services on all its Southeast Asia sites over the past year. By integrating local country and local language versions of Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! News, Entertainment and Sports, the company is making it a priority to provide users in Southeast Asia with the information they want, when they want it, how they want it and on any device.

Yahoo!’s strategy in Southeast Asia aims to localize and integrate services under its four strategic pillars -- Search, Content, Community and Personalization.

“Yahoo!’s investment in developing localized services aims to make the Internet more relevant for the 60 million internet users in Southeast Asia, as well as the millions of new Internet users that come online each year in the region” said Reza Behnam, Managing Director, Yahoo! Southeast Asia. “Instead of adopting a ‘one-site’ or ‘one-service’ fits all approach, Yahoo! provides the necessary local relevance that can encourage Internet access and adoption for all users in Southeast Asia,” Behnam added.

For Yahoo! News, new partnerships with local content providers in each country give users relevant news and entertainment and sports information. For Yahoo! Mobile, local mobile telecom operator partnerships provide users with SMS alerts, WAP-enabled Yahoo! services and content for Yahoo! users on the go.

“Yahoo! local Front Pages provide a great starting point for users to find anything and everything they want on the Internet,” said Larry Jordan, Director of Product Management, Yahoo! Southeast Asia. “Our services also help users connect to share ideas and information via PCs and mobile phones, added Mr. Jordan.

According to the Computer Industry Almanac (Jan 2006), worldwide Internet users are forecasted to reach 2 billion in 2011, which is a 100% increase over the 1 billion users at the end of 2005. Yahoo! anticipates significant growth of internet users from Southeast Asia as local governments continue to encourage information and communication technology (ICT) adoption for its citizens.

They've owned for some time now; it's about time they used it. Yahoo Messenger is immensely popular among Filipinos. Most freemail addresses in the Philippines end in "". Yahoo's knack for community-building appeals to one of the Filipino core values: bayanihan (community collaboration).

Furthermore, Filipinos are natural adopters of social media. Half of all Friendster users are Filipino, and the Philippines is among the top countries on BlogExplosion. Yahoo's recent penchant for buying social media apps should work well for them in the Philippines, if they properly present those apps to Filipinos.

Too bad they've ceded the search space to Google. I'm sticking with my Google juice for that.

Oh, and Yahoo: get some real Filipinos for your stock photography. We don't look Taiwanese. Pan-Asianism works with much of Asia, but not with this archipelago.

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