December 04, 2000

U.S. Internet search engine AltaVista Co. set up its first local language Web site in Brazil as the first step in a $20 million to $30 million investment push in Latin America.

AltaVista executives said the new Brazilian site cost $1 million to launch and the firm planned other Web sites in Argentina, Mexico and Chile in 2001, but they could give no more details due to a planned initial public offering.

"The first marketing push will be aimed at educating Brazilians about the benefits of using the Brazilian version of the site," the company's Latin American chief executive Evan Loevner told reporters at the launch.

The move came at a time when Latin American Internet companies are scaling back their expansion plans to concentrate on stemming losses and keeping a heavy hand on costs as technology markets across the world have turned sour.

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