TAIPEI (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc expects to announce a series of partnerships with mobile carriers in Asia in coming weeks, as it looks to its mobile services division for growth.
The U.S. Internet giant has been in talks with operators in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia — countries that boast some of the region’s highest mobile penetration rates — for new tie-ups for its mobile services, President Susan Decker said at an event in Taipei.
“We will have a number of announcements in the months ahead, even days and weeks,” Decker said at a news conference during a trip to Asia.
Yahoo’s combined user base in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, five of its key Asia Pacific markets, totals about 25 million users, said Rose Tsou, senior vice president of Asia region.
In June, Yahoo said it had signed six agreements with Asian mobile operators, including LG Telecom in South Korea, Maxis Communications Berhad in Malaysia and Taiwan Mobile.
Decker said Internet users in Asia-Pacific were growing at the fastest compared to other parts of the world, and in 2010, the global market could expect to see 1.8 billion users, with Asia-Pacific taking up 36 percent of the pie.
In 2000, there were 390 million Internet users globally, with Asia counting for 20 percent, she said.
In China, Yahoo owns 40 percent of Alibaba Group, whose business-to-business e-commerce unit is in the process of making a Hong Kong initial public offering that is expected to raise $1.5 billion.
Yahoo competes in Asia with most of the world’s other top Internet firms, including online auctions leader eBay and Internet search giant Google Inc.
Yahoo’s mobile division works with more than 80 operators and telephone makers, including Vodafone Group Plc, Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.