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Simplified road map to start up e-businesses

Business Times, September 21, 2000

Two major mistakes new dotcom companies seem to make are overspending on web technology and advertising.

Bill Gates, the richest man in the US is worth US$60 billion (US$1 = RM3.80), the richest man in Malaysia Robert Kuok is worth US$4.6 billion, whereas Li Ka Shing of Hong Kong has assets worth US$11.3 billion.

These men took approximately 20 years to build their wealth, but as for Richard Li, the son of Li Ka Shing it took him only 10 months to earn US$4.3 billion via the floatation of his dotcom company at the Hong Kong stock ex-change.'s chief consultant Harrace Lau said such facts should be able to dispel concerns and drawbacks of businessman intending to go online.

Speaking to participants of Asia' first e-Business Ownership in Kuala Lumpur yesterday service provider.

"Next, you need a website. In the beginning, the site might just contain information regarding the company's products and services. Moving on, the company can upgrade it to an interactive website where customers can communicate and provide feedback to the company.

"Of course, the ultimate goal for a company is to finally embrace e-commerce. A company would then need to obtain a catchy domain name that can range from five to 66 letters," he added.

Lau however cautioned the would be cyberpreneurs to avoid selling 'hot' products mainly due to the fact that these relatively young guns will have to compete with the big boys of the market.

Hot products include books, computers, software, music and travel.

He said these online infants should seek to affiliate with established dotcom giants.

For example, pasting the affiliate program to their websites could allow them to earn about 10 to 15 per cent commission on sales. "All you have to do is to register with and download their banner onto your company's website. The benefits of such a partnership include new money making opportunity without the hassle of going through any operations or transactions at your end." To make a website more successful, companies can also provide value added services such as timely information on stock quotes, and foreign exchange markets.

Lau said nevertheless, there are pitfalls when doing business in the cyber world, and that online companies should avoid at all costs. He said survey shows only 6 per cent of dotcoms are profitable whereas 94 per cent suffer losses. "Two major mistakes start-ups seem to make are overspending on web technology and advertising.", which started operations two years ago to sell clothes and apparel, invested a total of US$120 million to create a cyber model called Miss Boo. With this technology the purchaser is now able to have 360-degree view of the clothes they intend to buy, modelled my Miss Boo. Unfortunately three months ago, closed operations due to cash flow problems.

"Ideally, online companies, investments should be 80 per cent on time, and the remaining on promotions." The two-day e-Business Ownership campaign began yesterday with the commencement of the Mega e- business conference. It is organised by and supported by the SMI Association Malaysia and the Small- and Medium-Industries Development Corporation.

President and CEO of, Fione Tan said that the primary objective of this conference is to encourage all Malaysian Businesses to go online, "as it is vital for businesses in the new economy to embrace the Internet.

"Similar conferences will also be rolled out in Penang, Johor Bahru and Kuching over the next few months. Business Times is the official paper of the first large - scale campaign to attract business entities to be proactive players of the e-business.

"Simplified road map to start up e-businesses - Business Times"

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