Asian E-Commerce Set to Go

On the heels of China’s decision to open its Internet doors with the launch of MeetChina.com last month, a California company is hoping to expand the e-commerce business for the rest of Asia with a series of Internet portals to be launched over the next 18 months. Unlike in China, where all commerce, electronic or otherwise, is heavily regulated by the Communist government, other countries in Asia–particularly India–are eager for the economic expansion that doing business over the Internet can bring.

Research Engineers Inc., founded in India with U.S. offices in California and Massachusetts, has targeted India’s businesses for the first three of about a dozen Internet portals it plans to launch. The portals are designed to showcase an entire city’s business community, providing access to local merchants, news and other services. Calcutta Online, Research Engineers’ pilot site, launched last week as a new door to India’s second largest city.

Known as the “City of Joy”, Calcutta is the chief port and industrial center of East India. A portal for the capital city of Delhi is slated to launch June 1, with another for Mumbai, the business and financial center formerly called Bombay, due online in July.

The Politics of Business

Cities throughout Asia are also on Research Engineers’ target list, but the company chose to launch its new venture in its home country of India. That country’s economy has struggled in recent years due to a highly unstable national government, which has turned over five times in the past three years. In addition, rising concerns in the international business community over the country’s newly launched nuclear arms race with Pakistan have kept investment in Indian goods low, according to recent news reports.

Opening Internet portals targeting uniquely Indian goods and providing access to services within India–such as airline tickets or floral deliveries–not only gives Indian expatriates and others access to India, but may also help boost business for some of those businesses, Research Engineers believes.

Research Engineers (Nasdaq: RENG) estimates 90 million Asian-born professionals now live in Europe and North America, spurring the company’s drive to give them a link back home. The Asia Pacific countries represent more than 30 percent of the world’s population, the company said.

About Research Engineers

Research Engineers develops and distributes software for computer-aided engineers, focusing on the architectural, commercial, transportation, and utility industries. With offices or distributors in 40 countries, Research Engineers plans to use the relationships it has built through that business in the Asia Pacific region to expand into the Internet portal business and generate interest among local businesses in the cities its portals represent.

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