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Ashley Madison prepares for launch in Taiwan, where infidelity is illegal

Noel Biderman

Noel Biderman

Marital affairs website Ashley Madison, which was banned from Singapore a fortnight ago, is gearing up to launch in Taiwan – where infidelity is illegal.

The site’s CEO Noel Biderman, who is a former lawyer, told Mumbrella yesterday that the controversial website is in the early stages of launching in Taiwan and is negotiating the legal hurdles of operating in the country.

“I feel like a chicken. We should be there now. But before we go in, we need to work on the demographics and get legal framework right,” he said.

“Technically, infidelity is illegal in Taiwan. It’s not illegal for us to exist, but a Taiwanese citizen could face fines or jail for being unfaithful.”

Biderman said in an interview at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong that he hadn’t found agency partners to work on the brand’s marketing yet.

“We haven’t spoken to any agencies. Just lawyers,” he said.

“I don’t know if I will be able to hire a PR firm or put out a TV ad. Usually I show up in a new market and scream at top of my lungs. But I want to eek this one out in a different way. We’re trying to create an online community instead,” he said.

Asia will be a bigger market for Ashley Madison than in Latin America or Europe by some time next year, Biderman predicted.

The site already has 80,000 users in Hong Kong, where it set up in August, and plans to be in 10 Asian markets by the end of June 2014.

It is already live in India, Japan and Australia. It was blocked in Singapore by the citystate’s media regulator, with Biderman saying the decision was “counter to the open-minded nature of Singapore and its citizens”.

Ashley Madison has 23m users globally.

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