Can A TV Media Mogul With 6,300 Domain Names Take On The Internet?
Added: (Thu Dec 14 2000)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
Robert Chua, CEO of Hong Kong based TV station CETV is never bored. A recent brain surgery merely slowed him down for a few days - while he negotiated a strategic alliance with no other than Time Warner to keep his TV station running and growing. Is he ready for Internet prime time with an arsenal of 6,300 registered domain names?
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(HONG KONG December 10, 2000) - These days Robert Chua is on the offensive on the Internet battle field. Not a smart move some people might say. Dot coms have been under attack, companies that only a few weeks ago was a sure thing to riches. Internet companies are dropping like flies, people are out of work and stock options. It's not a pretty sight. Venture capitalists are running scared, trying to rescue what they can from .com investments that went south.
Some say that Mr. Chua is out of his mind to risk his considerable reputation on web sites. It's typical Chua, go where no reasonable man has never gone. Go where the risk is. Where the action is. Beat the odds. And he has, and he will do it again. Just when his TV station almost went under, he negotiated an investment and strategic alliance with Time Warner. Can he make it on the Internet front? My bet is that he has a better chance than most.
His secret strategy includes partnering with web developers to create the sites. For little or no money. The reasoning is that smaller design firms will be able to ride on the coattails of Chua's reputation and considerable marketing clout while owning a percentage of the site.
Mr. Chuas track record for creating valuable content is undisputed. He takes credit for shows like: "Enjoy Yourself Tonite" and is often called "TV's Wiz Kid". He's also well know for his successes in other creative content venues - even a "900 AudioText Business" (resulted from successful creative children programs) a few years back. The "900" business is reputed to be one of the sources of financing for his TV station.
The partners I interviewed all say they could never be able to afford the kind of credibility Mr. Chua can give them. So they put in long hours and have to endure Mr. Chuas constant input. Input of considerable creative value.
So far he has partnered with about half a dozen Hong Kong based web firms. Sites are beginning to emerge - creative sites such as http://www.COMPLAINASIA.COM. A clever site where Asians can register complaints about any business. Another site under development is http://www.MEANDMYLOVE.COM, a site where lovers can register their vows, upload their wedding pictures and commitments. He is actively soliciting endorsements from government health and welfare agencies - the pitch is that he feels he can help keep families together. It is working.
He recently told me that a certain unnamed Asia government will officially endorse this site. Governments endorsing web sites? Only Robert Chua would have enough guts to even approach the seriously conservative Asian ministers. Typical Chua.
Now he is about to launch several web sites to continue the tradition of providing content. Valuable content, stuff people find useful. One of these sites is http://www.NUMBERSTO.COM. His reasoning is that people often have long URLs for their web sites. Such as yahoo.com/myname.html. The site is deceivingly simple. Register with your phone number and list your web sites, e-mail address, wap site and soon to come a brief bio. Users simply enter your phone number on the site and it cross references with your info.
I recently met with Mr. Chua in Hong Kong and the speed of which his thoughts are delivered is astonishing. He has registered 6,300 domain names. Not to sell them, but to have a ready supply of names just in case he comes up with another idea. Which he does pretty well every second of the day.
Collecting domain names might have something to do with the fact that he has an incredible collection of Chinese artifacts. He might be a non-curable, compulsive collector. He lives with his charming wife Peggy in Hong Kong's Kowloon Tong exclusive district. Their home is filled with treasures from every dynasty in history. Figurines, vases, furniture, potteries, porcelains, ivories and bronzes fill his entire house. And two geese in the back yard to keep out the bad guys. A visit to their house is truly a historic event.
During the next few months he will launch several sites. One that is already up and running is his personal site http://www.ROBERTCHUA.COM. It's a site worth keeping an eye on. In fact, it's worth keeping an eye on Robert Chua. Asia knows him, now he wants the world to know him. I think he might get his wish.
Ingvar Grimsmo is a free-lance writer and consultant living in Lynden, WA. He recently interviewed Mr. Chua in Hong Kong.
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