CHIKKA ASIA: RP NOW A HUB FOR WIRELESS DATA MOBILE APPS

MANILA, September 26, 2003  (STAR) From global patents for the world’s first mobile "text" messenger to ISO certification that is a first for any wireless data enabler, Philippine-based wireless applications developer Chikka Asia has done its homework positioning in the global market.

But in the process, it has also helped establish the Philippines as a regional hub for the development of excellent mobile applications.

These were the significant milestones which Chikka Asia Inc. chief executive officer Dennis Mendiola took note of during the company’s second anniversary celebration at its Philippine Stock Exchange Center (Tektite, Ortigas) headquarters.

"Foreign carriers and mobile content providers have of late been looking at the Philippines for applications that they may ‘import’ for their own markets. It helps that our applications are tested in what is probably the world’s most advanced texting culture. They’ve come to the right place," Mendiola said.

Launched with venture capital funding in 2001, Chikka Asia is better known to many as "Chikka.com," owing to a strong presence in the Internet where it provides free PC-to-mobile messaging.

"One can say we are in the service of overseas Filipinos who rely on Chikka for communication with friends and loved ones who, in turn, ‘text back’ at the standard value-added SMS charge of only P2.50 per message," Mendiola said.

In 2002, however, the company ventured out of its core instant messaging business to pioneer once more corporate solutions, including wireless promos that showcased its technological and marketing savvy.

It has also since launched a Government Information Services portal on the general text access code 2920. And then, as if to cover all aspects of local culture, Chikka launched "Catextism," a mobile portal, born naturally in Roman Catholic Philippines.

During the same period, an affiliate company, Bidshot.com, launched more world firsts: SMS-enabled auctions and SMS-interactive television.

Meanwhile, another affiliate, Crushcow.com, brought matchmaking, previously enjoyed only on the Internet, to the mobile world.

"Bringing successful Internet models to the world of SMS is precisely what our patented technologies allow us to do because we can make even plain SMS highly interactive," Mendiola said.

What’s next for Chikka Asia Inc. is apparent – an international rollout. Already, this has begun with the launch of "Lounge," a truly mobile version of Internet Relay Chat or IRC with Chinese carrier Unicom for Shandong province on the east coast of the Chinese mainland.

"Coming as we are from the Philippines, we’ve really come to be viewed as exporters of this ‘chikka’ culture," Mendiola said.

"Chika" is Filipino slang for small talk.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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