Yahoo Inks News Research Pact in Taiwan

Yahoo signed a deal on Monday to work more closely with Taiwan's leading journalism school and the island's national news agency to research the future of news and broadcasting on the Internet.

The pact comes just over a month after news leaked that Yahoo plans to outsource the development of its Yahoo News unit to Taiwan, but the two deals have nothing in common, the head of Yahoo Taiwan said.

"We're not just a U.S. company, we can do development work anywhere," said Charlene Hung, managing director of Yahoo in Taiwan. "Our Yahoo News site product development will be done in Taiwan... [but] this is different. This is an agreement to work on content for our local platform," she said.

Student reporters at National Chengchi University will be involved in much of the project's work. Yahoo, Taiwan's Central News Agency, and the university's journalism department will create content for a new section on each of their Web sites called Your News. Initially, much of the new content will be used on the school newspaper and Web site, but as the amount of content grows, it will be added to sections on Yahoo's Taiwan site and the Central News Agency's Web site.

"There could be a Your News (Taiwan) Web site in the future, but this is just the beginning so for now it will be a part of our site, maybe once a week to start," Hung said.

Ten million people a day visit Yahoo.com.tw, said Hung.

The three organizations will also work on developing new Internet news models, such as user-generated news and speedy services such as Twitter or Plurk.

Chung Wei-wen, dean of Chengchi University's College of Communication, called the pact a unique opportunity to research the future of news content and delivery.

"This is a decisive move to carry Taiwan into the next generation of media, the next generation of broadcasting," he said.

In early September, news surfaced that Yahoo planned to move product management, engineering and user interface development at its Yahoo News unit to Taiwan. Hung said the fact Yahoo plans to move development of such an important part of its business to Taiwan shows it has a lot of faith in the island. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo, was born in Taiwan.

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