Portal to China

AOL recently launched a new Chinese-language channel, but skeptics are wondering whether the company will be able to gain any traction in the already crowded market.

“It’s a good effort, but it’s going to take time to know how people will respond to it,” says Annie Shih, account director at AdAsia Communications. “The target is new immigrants who still depend on the Chinese language, but would prefer to visit a Web site from their homeland rather an American site.”

AdAsia is not recommending AOLChinese at the moment. “Our clients are very savvy and for us to recommend it, they would have to prove that they have the traffic and click-through rates that would generate the dollars,” says Shih. 

Bill Imada, Chairman and CEO of the IW Group, agrees. “I haven’t even looked at it or considered it for us because there are so many other channels that have been around for 10 years and are well integrated in the Chinese-American communities. We don’t have any confidence right now that it’s going to be successful, particularly because there are so many other options available that have strong content.”
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