HKDNR, MICROSOFT HONG KONG AND PCCW DIRECTORIES LAUNCH SIX-MONTH 'SMB ONLINE TRIAL PROGRAM'

Joint Industry Initiative Meets Urgent Need of Hong Kong SMBs to
Establish Corporate Websites for Business Promotion

Hong Kong, May 15, 2007 - Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC) and its wholly owned subsidiary Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Company Limited (HKDNR), Microsoft Hong Kong Limited (Microsoft HK) and PCCW Directories Limited (PCCW Directories) today jointly announced the launch of their “SMB Online Trial Program”. This program includes the provision of a number of services including web hosting, web content creation, training in online marketing and ‘.hk’ English or Chinese domain name registration, together with a listing in PCCW Directories’ Internet Yellow Pages on-line search platform (yp.com.hk). By offering the first 500 registered Hong Kong small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) this free-of-charge and easy-to-implement trial package, this joint industry effort aims to address the urgent needs of local SMBs to tap into international markets and mainland China in particular, to communicate with their target customers in a cost-effective manner.

Local research has revealed that the majority of SMBs in Hong Kong have not fully leveraged on the Internet to expand their businesses, amid the growing business opportunities across the region and around the world. Many of the websites developed by Hong Kong SMBs are either not updated regularly or have been abandoned. According to a study conducted by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department in 2006, 61% of companies surveyed have computers in their offices, but only 17.5% of these companies have developed a business website.

“We are excited to be joining forces with Microsoft HK and PCCW Directories in this program to further encourage Hong Kong businesses to expand their market reach with an online presence. Today’s announcement is a win for local SMBs, which together form the building blocks of the great success of Hong Kong’s economy. The ‘SMB Online Trial Program’ provides a one-stop service to enable local SMBs to build a website in a hassle-free manner. Websites with ‘.hk’ Chinese and English domain names help Hong Kong SMBs differentiate themselves with a unique identity in the Internet world, giving them a reputable Hong Kong presence,” noted Mr. Jonathan Shea, Chief Executive Officer of HKDNR.

“Microsoft has always been keen to help SMBs enhance their competitiveness and realize their full potential by adopting the latest information technology. By providing free web design tools and online marketing training through this joint promotion program, we hope to fully demonstrate the benefits of a business website to these SMB owners. This will help them not only to establish their own websites, but also to connect directly with their target clients around the world,” stated Ms. Becky Lo, Platform Strategy Manager, Business and Marketing Organization, Microsoft HK.

The capability to reach out via the Internet has recently been enhanced for Hong Kong businesses wishing to tap the burgeoning Greater China market, with the introduction of the ‘.hk’ Chinese Domain Name (CDN) in March 2007. According to a Hong Kong Productivity Council study in January 2007, approximately 40% of Hong Kong SMBs have investments in Mainland China. CDN addresses their needs as it helps Mainland Chinese companies and individuals, who are used to communicating in Chinese, easily search for Hong Kong SMBs using the Chinese language via the Internet. Over 6,000 applications to CDN have been received since its launch, proving that it meets the needs of the Hong Kong business community and users in different sectors.

This joint promotion program also provides SMBs with a free listing in PCCW Directories’ Internet Yellow Pages on-line search platform (yp.com.hk) which, with nearly 30 million customer hits a month, will provide participating SMBs with greater customer exposure to their newly created web-sites.

Mr. Lindsay Servian, PCCW's Executive Vice President for Advertising and Interactive Services said: "With a long history of working and tailoring successful advertising solutions to SMBs, PCCW Directories is delighted to contribute to this initiative to help SMBs that do not already have an Internet presence maximize their potential through on-line marketing and sales. We offer a range of print, mobile and on-line services to SMBs, and year-on-year our Yellow Pages customers have seen a strong return on advertising investment from on-line search, be it from general branding and business exposure, to direct sales lead generation."

The six-month “SMB Online Trial Program” includes the following services:

  • Web hosting service
  • A ‘.hk’ Chinese or English domain name
  • A "high-lighted" listing in both Chinese and English versions of the Internet Yellow Pages on-line search platform (yp.com.hk)
  • Microsoft® Expression® Web creation and software trial
  • A professional training session for online marketing

Local SMBs wishing to participate in the “SMB Online Trial Program” and experience the benefits of a business website can submit their applications from May 16 until July 7, 2007. The promotional offer is valid for six months effective from the day the SMB joins the program. For more information, please visit: http://www.smbprogram.hk or call 3116 2565.

About HKIRC and HKDNR
Hong Kong Internet Registration Cooperation Limited (HKIRC) is a non-profit making organization endorsed by the Government of HKSAR to oversee the administration and assignment of the Internet domain names ending with '.hk'. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Company Limited (HKDNR), HKIRC provides registration services for the English domain names ending with '.com.hk', '.edu.hk', '.gov.hk', '.idv.hk', '.net.hk', '.org.hk', ‘.hk’ and Chinese domain names ending with '.公司.hk', '.教育.hk', '.政府.hk' , '.個人.hk', '.網絡.hk', '.組織.hk', '.hk'; and other domains to be introduced from time to time in Hong Kong.

About Microsoft Hong Kong
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. The Microsoft Hong Kong office was established in 1991.

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or a trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners

About PCCW Directories and Internet Yellow Pages
PCCW Directories Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of PCCW Limited, and the official distributor in Hong Kong of printed Yellow Pages, Internet Yellow Pages, Mobile Yellow Pages, Yellow Pages CD-Rom, White Pages, Fax Directory and an array of supplements, as well as voice ad services. Yellow Pages has a classified database of 300,000 company listings in 1,800 industry classifications and prints and distributes 1.8 million copies of its publications. Internet Yellow Pages is an on-line internet platform which offers a full range of web-mastering and on-line advertising solutions and has relationships with, amongst others, Yahoo, Google, Baidu and Sina.

Press Contacts:

HKDNR
Annie Shiu
Tel: + 852 2319 3828
Fax: + 852 2319 2626
Email: annie.shiu@hkirc.hk
HKDNR
Dorothy Chow
Tel: + 852 2319 3883
Fax: + 852 2319 2626
Email: Dorothy.chow@hkirc.hk
Microsoft
Alpha Yuen
Tel: +852 2804 4702
Fax: +852 2560 2217
Email: v-alyuen@microsoft.com
PCCW Limited
Ivan Ho
Tel: +852 2883 8747
Fax: +852 2962 5634
Email: ivan.wy.hk@pccw.com
iPR communications
Annie Ho
Tel: + 852 2131 8933
Fax: + 852 2131 8955
Email: annieho@iprcomm.com.hk
iPR communications
Yonnie Wong
Tel: + 852 3114 7125
Fax: + 852 2131 8955
Email: yonniewong@iprcomm.com.hk