Australians rate well as entrepreneurs

The Yellow Pages Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Australia 2000 (GEM 2000) shows the relative performance of 21 countries which produce an independent report after performing Entrepreneurship research using identical methods and claims to be the first comprehensive stocktake of Australia's entrepreneurial performance. It showed that Australia ranked well. Some of the results included:

Third in start-up activity, with just over eight per cent of the population involved in starting a business at any one time;Fourth in overall entrepreneurial activity;Fourth in female participation in business start-ups; andFifth in new firm participationGEM 2000 noted that while Australians admire people who start a company, they resent those who succeed. It also showed fear of failure deterred 36 per cent of Australians from embarking on entrepreneurial ventures.

Ventures slow to capture Internet revenue.

Despite Australia's current 40 per cent online penetration rate -- one of the highest in the world -- revenue opportunities for both advertising and commerce have yet to materialise, according to new findings from Jupiter Research. The company's analysts believe that the lack of market development, combined with the limited scale of the Australian market, represents a critical challenge for online players and will force winners to shift business models to leverage the inherent benefits of the medium: targeted marketing and deeper relationships with consumers.

Within the Australian market, online access does not equate with revenue opportunities, Jupiter found. For example, the online advertising market will reach $A70 million ($US35 million) in 2000, but will represent only 0.5 per cent of total advertising spending. In comparison, Canada, with online penetration of 42 per cent, has 1.7 per cent of the advertising market online; three times the impact in Australia.

Online commerce activity faces similar hurdles with only 12 per cent of Internet users in Australia expected to buy online in 2000, versus 40 per cent in the US and 25 per cent in Canada, according to Jupiter. The Australian market's lack of attention to online consumers appears to correlate with the relatively low online usage intensity of Internet users in Australia. The average user in Australia spent less than 10 hours on line in August, versus US users who spent over 15 hours online, according to Jupiter Media Metrix's new Jx Intelligence report on Australia.

With the market at a crossroad, online ventures must act now to adjust their business models to fully embrace the medium. For publishers, it's not about mirroring US success, but changing the market's perception of what the medium can offer. They must refocus on business models that sell the value of the medium, including using site research to justify marketing online, selling the quality of audience, and working with advertisers to ensure the most appropriate placement. As for commerce companies, success hinges on broadening the consumer value proposition, by personalising service and extending the relationship beyond a single transaction.

Asian online consumer spending to jump

Business-to-consumer electronic commerce opportunities will surge in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) over the next 12 months, with spending per user projected to rise 80 per cent from $US800 to $US1450, according to a report by International Data Corp. (IDC). This growth will offer great opportunities for Web sellers that understand the preferences - and differences - of Asia's Internet users and Web buyers, IDC analysts said. But companies that do not understand the complexities, uniqueness and limitations of Asia's Web buyer population and its components will meet great difficulties according to IDC.

The survey found major differences between the Internet environment in Asia compared to more developed markets such as the US. The most noticeable differences are in the demographics of Asian Internet users and Web buyers. Whereas the Internet is becoming a mainstream medium in the US, Asia's online population is skewed toward a few key demographic segments. The survey found that Asia's typical Internet user is young (80 per cent between 19 and 34) and male (76 per cent), with an annual household income of less than $US15,000 (72 per cent).

Asian ISPs look beyond dial-up Access

ISPs (Internet service providers) in the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan) need to diversify their business strategies because simply offering free Internet access in this competitive market no longer represents a viable business model, according to a report released by IDC. Revenue generated from online advertising and B2C transactions have been unexpectedly low resulting in several ISPs moving on from the free Internet access business model, according to IDC.

ISPs are faced with the task of diversifying their business strategies and moving up the value chain, the company said. They now need to provide value-added services such as Web hosting, colocation, Internet telephony, unified messaging, managed hosting, server management, network consulting, VPN (virtual private network) and security services. This is especially important in countries with high Internet penetration rates like Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, IDC said.

The New Religion: Linux and Open Source

Visit any IT-oriented Web site or read most any IT trade publication and you can find endless commentary and/or hype about how the Linux and Open Source movement is fundamentally changing enterprise computing. From these accounts, it would seem that commercial vendors of operating systems and applications are facing their biggest competitive threat and an ever worsening future. But does this hype have any basis in fact? Seeking to shed some light into the reality of this market, Zona Research has examined the state of Linux deployment in organisations, the factors driving deployment, and user perceptions of the Linux and Open Source value proposition.

Significant findings within the report include:

Linux deployments at present are overwhelmingly limited to pilot programs or departmental deploymentsAlmost two-thirds of respondents indicated there were 100 or fewer Linux users in their organisations and nearly half of these stated 25 users or fewerStability and reliability were the top reasons cited for deploying Linux, followed by lower price, speed of applications and services, and overall scalabilityAlthough Microsoft Windows was the single operating system replaced most often with Linux, nearly 2/3 of respondents who were replacing legacy applications with Linux indicated their organisations were replacing UNIX operating systemOnly 24 per cent indicated that their organisation had made a strategic commitment to open source solutions.

Asia/Pacific Q3 PC shipments jump 34%

The Asia/Pacific personal computer market experienced strong growth in the third quarter of 2000 as unit shipments totaled 4.6 million units, an increase of 34 per cent over the same period last year, according to preliminary results from Dataquest. PC shipments reached 3.4 million units in the third quarter of 1999. Dataquest noted that the Asia/Pacific PC market thrived on the back of government and private initiatives to increase the utilisation of IT and the Internet in a number of countries.

Legend continued to hold the first position in the Asia/Pacific region with an 11 per cent market share, IBM was second with an eight per cent market share, followed by Samsung with seven per cent of the market. All three vendors were aided by robust growth rates in China and Korea.

China continued to lead the PC market in the region with a market share of 39 per cent in the third quarter. The PC market in China grew 14 per cent in the third quarter of 2000 as a result of stable economic growth experienced in the country, which has continued to attract foreign investment and boost exports. This has also contributed to the development of the industrial and service sectors of the economy. At the same time, the rapid growth of the Internet industry and the substantial expansion of the Internet community have also supported the growth of the PC market in China.

Online maintenance costs just keep growingThe longer a business has had an online presence, the larger the proportion of its budget it needs to spend in order to maintain and upgrade its Web site, according to a recent study from ActivMedia Research. Web site development is not a one-time electronic commerce start-up cost because in today's online market major site rebuilds are an essential ongoing task and expenditure, the market researcher said in a statement summarising the findings of the study titled Real Numbers Behind Web Hosting & Development.

For all site types, the percentage of site development and operation budgets devoted to site upgrades increases with number of years online, online revenues, and total site development and operational budgets, ActivMedia found. Site design and programming maintenance typically account for around 33 per cent of online costs and site hosting and access costs take up another 25 per cent, according to ActivMedia. Worldwide, businesses will spend more than $US22 billion, or 17 per cent of the estimated $US132 billion in global e-commerce revenue, to establish and maintain an online presence, the company's analysts said.

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