Asia Online Wins Red Herring Global 100 Award for "Most Promising Technology Startups"

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Asia Online, a firm that is translating millions of pages of Internet content into Asian languages via its unique Translation Technology Platform, has been awarded the coveted Red Herring Global 100 Award which recognizes the best global startups with innovative and potentially disruptive technologies.

Asia Online, a firm dedicated to eliminating information poverty by bringing the world's knowledge to every person through its unique online Translation Technology Platform, today announced it has received top honors in the Red Herring Global 100 most promising technology startups. After winning the Red Herring Asia 100 Award in December 2008 and advancing to the next round, winning the Global Award places Asia Online in the league of previous Red Herring winners, such as Google, Skype and YouTube, all whom Red Herring accurately predicted would alter the way people use the Internet and engage with the digital economy.

The Red Herring award is considered the pinnacle accolade for technology startups. For the past decade, technology industry executives, investors, and observers have regarded the Red Herring 100 lists as an invaluable instrument to discover and advocate the promising startups that will lead the next wave of disruption and innovation. The Red Herring's editorial team has diligently surveyed entrepreneurship around the globe during 2008, scouring thousands of privately held companies and meticulously selected 1800 of the top companies from Europe, North America, and Asia. Evaluations were made on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, innovation, management, global strategy, and ecosystem integration. The announcement of the winners was made at the Red Herring 100 Global conference which took place in San Diego from January 14-16, 2009. Present among the finalists were elite executives and venture capital leaders from around the world.

According to Dion Wiggins, CEO of Asia Online, the award comes at an opportune time: "With Western markets in turmoil, many investors are looking to growth in Asia for opportunities. Asia Online is well positioned to become the leading player in the online space in many Asian markets, which combined are set to dwarf the North American and European markets in terms of both users and content. Red Herring's selection of Asia Online for this top award is a validation of the opportunities still present in region, and also of our unique position."

"If you take at look at the previous companies Red Herring has selected as winners, we are in great company," said Mr. Wiggins.

Startup        Year    Current Market Value
Google        1998    US$94 Billion    2004    US$3.4 Billion
Skype        2005    Acquired by EBay in 2005 for US$2.6B
YouTube        2005    Acquired by Google in 2006 for US$1.65B
Asia Online        2009    Privately funded

Established in January 2007, Asia Online had already made a big impact on the global market. In April 2008, the firm unveiled its powerful online Translation Technology Platform that uses advanced artificial intelligence to not only translate over 200 language-pairs, but also learns from humans as they proofread and edit documents. The firm now has alliances with the world's leaders in language services, such as Andovar, Braahmam, EQHO Communications and McElroy Translation.

Asia Online's ambition goes far beyond offering world-leading translation technology through its unique online technologies that learn from humans and its crowd-sourcing business model. Its true aim is to make all of the world's knowledge available to every citizen, no matter which language they speak. Called, "the World's largest literacy project," Asia Online is translating tens-of-millions of pages of educational, scientific and historic English-language content into Asian languages.

This content comes from highly valued open sources, such as Wikipedia (the world's seventh most popular online destination), the World Fact Book and tens-of-thousands of published books and essays, and open courseware. Asia Online is also working with publishers of popular English language magazines and publications to translate their materials into Asian languages. This project will effectively eliminate information poverty and provide the same knowledge to every person, regardless of cultural background. On top of this, Asia Online is set to deploy social network services that have proven popular in the West, but have been inaccessible to Asian consumers due to language barriers.

But to what end? Gregory Binger, Chairman of Asia Online, sees huge potential for the Asian Internet market: "Currently, Asia represents 39% of all global Internet users, but the region has an Internet penetration rate of just 15% of the population. By 2012, 50% of global Internet users will be in Asia, with strong continued growth expected beyond 2115. In contrast, Western markets are nearly saturated with North America already at 75% Internet penetration rates."

Asia Online's initiative is not only beneficial for Asia's burgeoning economies, but also as a springboard to generating new market wealth: "The biggest bottleneck in growing -- and making money from -- the Asian Internet is lack of compelling content," said Mr. Binger. "Although Asia will soon represent nearly half of the world's Internet users, less than 14% of Internet web pages are in Asian languages. Worse, less than 0.03% of content is in an Asian languages other than Chinese, Japanese or Korean. This means that the bulk of the world's population have restricted access to global content... language has traditionally created a significant barrier to learning and knowledge, and this in turn is limiting the growth of many non-English-speaking nations. This is a root cause of information poverty around the globe."

"We believe that language should never be a barrier to knowledge. By eradicating the language barrier, Asia Online will not only be helping build the nations of Asia by proving free access to knowledge, but we will also be positioning ourselves as the gateway to such knowledge. This gives us many opportunities to monetize our position in the market, through advertising as well as introducing a range of services that have been proven money-makers in the West" said Mr. Binger.

A recent article by Gizmag titled "Asia Online -- the world's most significant literacy project," likened Asia Online's strategy to "being able to go back in time to the start of the Internet, and being able to make all the right moves because you knew how the web would be monetized, the importance of search and how to leverage it, which business models would work, and which ones wouldn't." Given that Asia Online will house over 1 billion pages of Asian-language content by 2011, such statements are well-founded.

About Asia Online Pte Ltd
Asia Online's unique services are enabling people to transcend language as a barrier to knowledge by increasingly providing unrivalled access to the limitless store of English-language content on the Internet, in their language of choice.

Asia Online's primary focus is to deliver huge amounts of content in local languages. In doing so it has created a core technological infrastructure that enables massive translation projects to be undertaken. Asia Online is working with language service providers and publishers with its unique infrastructure that facilitates the ongoing evolution of real time corrective improvements that aims to deliver machine translation quality that is second to none.

Formed in 2007, Asia Online is a privately owned company backed by a number of individual investors and institutional venture capital. Its corporate headquarters are in Singapore, and its operational headquarters are in Bangkok, Thailand, where it conducts R&D and daily business operations.

About Red Herring
Red Herring is a global media company, which unites the world's best high technology innovators, venture investors and business decision makers in a variety of forums: a leading innovation magazine, an online daily technology news service, technology newsletters and major events for technology leaders around the globe. Red Herring provides an insider's access to the global innovation economy, featuring unparalleled insights on the emerging technologies driving the economy.


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