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Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong form mega portal venture: tom.com

16 December 1999

  • Multi-lingual portal and portfolio of China-related content
  • Targeted at both PRC and Global audiences to "Bring China to the World and the World to China"
  • Exclusive arrangements with key PRC content partners

Hutchison Whampoa Limited and Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited today announced that they will be bringing together their existing and planned internet "infotainment" content activities under a new holding company.

The holding company, tom.com limited, will include strategic investors with broad access to key Mainland content providers, and will launch a mega portal of China-related content, www.tom.com, in January 2000.

tom.com aims to be the premier mega vertical portal for China related "infotainment" internet content. It will serve as the looking glass through which Mainland audiences can access a broad variety of trendy and current infotainment from all over the world in Chinese.

For audiences outside China, the looking glass will open inwards to a wonderland of China content, allowing unprecedented ease of access both to "infotainment" and e-commerce capabilities relating to China… in English, French, Japanese and other languages.

All visitors to tom.com will be helped by tom, the portal's mascot, who will act as a smart, friendly, knowledgeable and inexhaustible cyber guide through multiple layers of information, entertainment, culture, leisure, travel and finance content.

Initially, Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong will respectively own 40% and 20% of tom.com limited with the strategic investors holding the remaining 40% amongst them. Additional strategic investors are expected to join over the coming months.

tom.com limited has been formed to capitalise on the technical and operational Internet expertise of its shareholders and the immense potential that has emerged from China's growing affluence and fast-increasing Internet penetration, to "Bring China to the World and the World to China".

tom.com limited will manage and operate a unique and dynamic mega portal with the potential to create a unified database of global and PRC users from which personalised content can be generated for them. tom.com will provide the most comprehensive and user-friendly way for internet users around the world to access content about China, while meeting the growing demand for unique content, global and China-related, for the Chinese audience.

tom.com limited has established, and will continue to form, many exclusive long term relationships with key industry leaders in the various sectors in China such as travel, culture, books, finance, leisure, movies, technology, e-learning, fashion, entertainment and sports to provide exclusive content for the mega portal. In addition to its existing Internet activities, including that of metroradio.com, the new venture has already signed agreements with China Travel Network Co Ltd, Chinese Historical Antiquities Exchange Association, China National Publications Import and Export Corporation, Guangzhou Online Information industry, The Chinese Academy of Science, Cyber Catalyst Net Co Ltd, Beijing Oriental Spider Advertising Co and Beijing Xin Chao Yue Advertising Co Ltd - all of whom will provide content to tom.com. Many more leading content partners are expected to join the mega portal over the coming months.

tom.com, together with its content partners, aim to create the most in-depth content ever available on Internet in their respective industries. They will provide also a wide range of fulfilment capacity, which is essential for total Internet services. Another important feature of tom.com will be its extensive video-based information directed to the rapid growth expected in broadband access. tom.com limited's role will be more than an umbrella portal operator. It will provide strong management, marketing and technological support to its content partners and will be packaging, branding and promoting their high quality services through tom.com on the global market maximizing synergistic benefits.

"Internet related development is the world's fastest growing business, especially in China. With its easy-to-access service and content-rich mega vertical portal, we are confident that tom.com will soon become the preferred provider of China-related on-line content, for the global audience and also the local audience in the PRC," said a Hutchison Whampoa spokesperson. "By leveraging Cheung Kong and Hutchison's solid financial background, experienced management team and vast knowledge in telecommunications, together with our strategic investors' extensive access to key China content providers, the joint venture is well positioned to offer the best portal and e-commerce services and content for its audience and to capitalise on the huge potential emerging from the fast expanding internet world."

For media enquiries, please contact:

Hutchison Whampoa Limited
Laura Cheung
Tel:  (852) 2128 1289