Yahoo Invests in Indian Phone Directory Search Firm

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Yahoo has bought a 30 percent stake in Info Network Management Company (INMAC), a company in Chennai in south India that specializes in telephone directory search.

Users in India will now be able to access information about local businesses and services through Yahoo Web sites such as Yahoo Local -- and also by phone through the Call Ezee service offered by INMAC, said Keith Nilsson, senior vice president and head of emerging markets at Yahoo.

Starting with data integration of the two companies' lists, Yahoo also plans to look at other ways of integrating the business models of INMAC and Yahoo, Nilsson said.

Yahoo did not disclose how much it paid for the stake in INMAC. The deal gives Yahoo representation on the company's board, the company said. Yahoo also has a revenue-sharing agreement with INMAC, Nilsson said.

The Call Ezee service currently covers 14 cites across India. Consumers can call the local Call Ezee number from any mobile or fixed line phone, and request contact details of a business, or a list of businesses that offer the product or service they are looking for.

Indian businesses can be listed on the directory without any charge, although sales leads are charged on a premium listing or 'pay for performance' basis.

INMAC expects the funding provided by Yahoo to enable it to continue to develop its team and technology as it seeks to triple its reach across India over the next two years.

The Indian local search market is seeing significant changes, as consumers are increasingly using mobile phones to search for and find local businesses, Nilsson said.

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