Catcha.com to license search technology, launches Chinese site

Posted on December 29, 1999 
Filed Under CNET, Julian

By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR–Regional portal player Catcha.com will license its search and retrieval technology worldwide as a new revenue source.

“We have been approached by several parties to use our unique technology and have decided to commercialize and develop it into a product,” said Patrick Grove, Catcha.com Group chief executive.

Grove told CNET Asia the company will spend at least 2 million ringgit (about US$526,000) over the next five years to further research and develop its search engine.

“The ‘catching’ technology which was developed in-house has been a primary reason for our rapid growth. It retrieves content in real-time from our partners’ Web sites with minimal effort and helps us to implement partnerships extremely quickly.

“We currently use the technology with content partners (wire agencies) Dow Jones and Bernama to continuously updated breaking news,” said Grove.

Meanwhile, Grove declined to comment on its current wrangle with Singaporean ISP Pacific Internet that filed suit against Catcha.com on Dec 10 for alleged copyright infringement.

“We are leaving it to our lawyers,” he said. PI alleged that Catcha.com used content from Movies Online, a database of movie schedules in Singapore, and from restaurant guide Tatler Top 125 Restaurants created by the ISP without consent or attribution.

Catcha.com has issued a press statement that it disagrees that providing a link to another Web site is copyright infringement and will “vigorously defend” the matter.

Earlier, Grove launched a Chinese version of its portal developed in partnership with Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia’s largest circulating Chinese daily newspaper.

Catcha.com also announced that it had received Multimedia Super Corridor status from the Malaysian government which qualifies it for tax breaks and incentives within the country’s 750 sq km high-tech zone south of capital Kuala Lumpur.

Grove said Catcha.com has been growing rapidly since it launched its three localized portals for Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in mid-1999.

“Revenue has grown faster than we anticipated at about 25 to 50 percent from month to month and we’ve signed on major advertisers like Mitsubishi and Cathay Pacific,” he said, adding that the company will double its staff from 30 to 60 by next month.

Grove said Catcha.com will set up localized portals for Australia and Philippines early next year with a Thai site planned for mid-2000.

Published in CNET Asia, Dec 29, 1999.

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