INTERNET  GIANT  YAHOO!  TAPS  INTO  OFW  MARKET

MANILA
, DECEMBER 6, 2006
  (STAR) Internet giant Yahoo unveiled yesterday a global project aimed at tapping into the vast market of Filipino overseas workers.

The "Pinoy Connect" project features a special website designed to meet the needs of an estimated eight million Filipinos, or 10 percent of the population, working abroad as well as their families back home.

In the first nine months of 2006, overseas Filipinos remitted an estimated $9.11 billion, providing critical support to the economy. This does not include cash sent home through informal, non-bank channels.

The new site www.yahoo.com.ph/pinoy features news, entertainment, mobile services, chat groups, mobile communications and instant messaging services targets Filipino workers and their dependents.

A press statement from Yahoo said the project has the support of Philippine government agencies, private firms and the Catholic church, to which a majority of Filipinos belong.

"We believe the Internet can transform lives and we believe that Yahoo can make a difference for Filipinos living around the world who need to communicate and stay in touch," said Reza Behnam, managing director of Yahoo Southeast Asia.

Leading Philippines-based portals have also tapped into the overseas workers’ market, offering a wide range of services such as remittances and home sales.

A new building boom is sweeping across Manila and surrounding areas, fueled by cash-flush overseas Filipinos looking to invest in retirement homes. Rising property prices are helping drive the surge of Philippine share prices to levels not seen since the mid-1997 Asian financial crisis. — AFP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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