iAsiaWorks Draws $85M Investment

Internet solutions provider iAsiaWorks announced today that it has received an $85 million (US$) financing package from a group of investors in preparation for its expansion in eight Asian markets.

The San Mateo, California-based company, which is in the process of changing its name from Aunet, claims that the latest round of financing gives it $110 million in backing overall.

Samsung Corporation and Bechtel Enterprises joined a number of venture capital companies, including Newbridge Asia and the Sprout Group, in making the investment.

iAsiaWorks provides Internet solutions in China, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan and the U.S., and will soon launch its service in Japan, Australia and Thailand.

“iAsiaWorks is good for companies doing business in Asia,” said Dan Carroll, managing partner of Newbridge Asia. “They have the vision, the leadership, the global technology and local presence to deliver a real competitive edge in the e-commerce arena.”

Keith Geeslin, general partner of the Sprout Group, added, “This is a company on the move, and we’re delighted to back them. iAsiaWorks has a breakthrough business model and they’re going to open the door to new markets in Asia for many companies.”

Staking a Claim

iAsiaWorks claims to be a complete pan-Asian Internet solutions provider for businesses large and small, foreign and local.

The company offers hosting, technical support, project-management, currency fulfillment, regulatory consulting and other localized services. Among its 1000 business customers are Oracle, Microsoft, DoubleClick and Sandpiper.

The company plans to build eight data centers in the next 18 months across its market area, where the company said the centers will maintain high bandwidth connections with every major ISP in their respective markets.

Key Player

iAsiaWorks managed to score something of a personnel coup in recent months, recruiting JoAnn Patrick-Ezzell, the former CEO of AT&T Asia/Pacific, as its chairman and CEO in August. The move surely helped trigger this latest — and largest — round of financing for the company.

In addition, Patrick-Ezzell brings the added bonus of having some familiarity with the Asia/Pacific market. With over half of the world’s population and 40 percent of its gross domestic product, the Asian market is expected to inflate rapidly.

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that the e-commerce market in the region will grow from $720 million this year to $32 billion by 2002. That estimate is on the high side — others peg the market’s potential at half that — but the numbers are all stacked in favor of substantial growth in the region.

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