ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards


about Asia Buzz  |  more Asia Buzz

Asia Buzz: Those Were the Days
Hype doesn't sell. Results do

November 28, 2000
Web posted at 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong time, 1:00 a.m. EDT

They were briefly -- very briefly -- Asia's greatest hopes. They were the darlings of the media, the brightest stars in a future techno-firmament, the best chance Asia had to reinvent itself after the financial disasters of the 1990s. They still might be, but we don't hear much about them anymore.

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
"They," of course, were the groovy gang who were going to change our world, Asia's own Internet stars. They were people like Singapore's Wong Toon King, the onetime pinup boy of the local press who tantalized them -- or was it his ego? -- by wearing a NASDAQ baseball cap to press conferences only to deny that's where his hugely-hyped incubator was headed. Don't hear much from him these days.


Asia Buzz: Hold the Front Page
Comedians are having a field day over the U.S. election
- Monday, November 27, 2000

Culture on Demand: Giving Thanks
To Starbucks and sex
- Friday, November 24, 2000

Letter from Japan: Murky Politics
Expect to hear more about Japan's involvement with "Peruvian" Alberto Fujimori
- Friday, November 24, 2000

Asia Buzz: Sex in the Lion City
Digital technology poses problems for countries like Singapore
- Thursday, November 23, 2000

Asia Buzz: Traffic Jam
A crash on the information superhighway sends telcos scrambling
- Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Asia Buzz: The Week That Wasn't
A stunned world awaits the U.S. election result
- Monday, November 20, 2000

Culture on Demand: Trust, Lies and Audiotape
The truth is out there. And a new device will help you find it
- Friday, November 17, 2000

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

Then there's David Kim, who at one time seemed to have more jobs than Richard Li has debt problems. Problem was that every time Kim jumped, from Lycos to Chinadotcom to Softbank to, he missed the payoff. Does he have the kiss of death?

Or does that belong to Jonathan Hakim, the self-styled wild child of the Asian Net, who helped kick-start the IandI (Internet and Information) networking circuit. That was a good idea, but less so his claim that he built the Asian Internet. Him and Al Gore perhaps?

There was Techpacific itself, a group of Hong Kong investment bankers not previously known for their tech prowess. They were going to change the world, and I guess they did for about 100 of their close colleagues and associates who were convinced to part with $80 million for a business that redefines the term business -- that is, that there's not much of it going on. isn't going to make serious money anytime soon. It went public on the Hong Kong bourse day the tech wreck gathered pace. And that was its best day.

And of course, there's Richard Li. Enough said.

For a while there, while these guys were rampant, the most dangerous place in Asia wasn't East Timor or Aceh, but the space between them and a microphone or a reporter's notebook. Like their counterparts in the U.S, from whom they took publicity pointers, they thrived on first-mover advantage of a peculiarly Asian kind -- first to get their name in the paper. The media has learnt now not to swallow the errant nonsense that Asia's Net lords were spouting.

Still, the message that hype doesn't sell hasn't entirely sunk in for some people. For a good example that suggests some are still reading last year's copies of Fast Company instead of today's Asian Wall Street Journal, log onto's "About Us" page. If you leave aside the sloppy spelling, grammar and cliches, we learn that the chairman has "gone plural," that the COO is responsible for developing a corporate "ecosystem" and that half the staff seem to celebrate their geekiness. Oh, and Jon Hakim built the Asian Net.

There's not much in there about how the company will make money. And's share price is still falling. The company's best hope might seem to be to employ some of the investment banking skills of its principals. There are plenty of companies out there in Asian Net land that went public during the price boom, raised lots of cash, but are now trading well below their basic cash value. That's an opportunity for vulture capitalists, not venture capitalists. So while Techpacific and companies like it are redesigning their business plans, they also might want to redesign their website as well. Hype doesn't sell. Results do.

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
Write to TIME at
Search for recent Asia Buzz

TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN


Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.