Friday, August 20, 2004

Amazon takes a Chinese bride, one of the pioneer powerhouses of e-commerce, has joined the rush to gain a foothold in the booming China market. Amazon has bought China's, China's largest online seller of books, movies, music, and toys, for a mere $75 million.

The Chinese online population is growing at an astonishing rate. Already at 80 million, it's expected to hit 100 million active at-home users by year end. That's closing fast on the US (pretty much plateaued at 130 million) and way ahead of numbers three and four Japan (34 mil) and South Korea (31 mil).

The days when English was the dominant language (and the latin alphabet the dominant form) of the Internet and of e-commerce are over. It's time to install all of those foreign language packs that allow your computer to show other writing systems without all the error messages.

Maybe babelfish and similar instant sort-of-translation services will finally come into their own. Enter's founder Jeff Bezos into babelfish, translate him to traditional Chinese, and then translate that back to English and you get an auspicious "Outstanding husband Bezos". I wish the happy couple well!

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