America Online Latin America, the joint venture between AOL and Venezuelan media group Cisneros, yesterday went live in Mexico despite its recently reported $53.1 million loss [WAMN, 10-Jul-00] attributed mainly to disappointing uptake in Brazil.

AOL International president Michael Lynton hailed the Mexican service – the company’s first in the Spanish language – as “opening the door to a worldwide community of more than 400 million Spanish-speaking consumers, including 30m in the US." Parading at the launch fiesta were Spanish film actor Antonio Banderas, Mexican actress Salma Hayek, plus that famed Latino duo Boris Becker and Magic Johnson.

The lion’s share of the Mexican online market is currently held by telecoms giant Telefonos de Mexico with almost 60% share. However, AOL plans to change all that: "As the only full-service, online provider in the Mexican interactive market, we continue our momentum toward becoming the leading provider in Latin America," said AOL Latin America chief executive officer Charles Herington.

News source: New York Times