Taiwan service loses 70%-plus users.

Kuro, previously Taiwan's biggest P2P network, has lost more than 70% of its subscribers since it shut down its illegal peer-to-peer service, according to a survey by Taipei-based online market research firm InsightXplorer.

Kuro shut down the service on Oct. 16 and formed a strategic alliance with Yahoo's local branch. Through the cooperation, Kuro directed its then-400,000 subscribers to Yahoo-Kimo Music, which charges NT$35 ($1.05) per download as well as unlimited streaming audio for NT$149 ($4.53) a month.

The survey, released Nov. 2, found that 54.7% of those polled have used Kuro, but 73.5% of previous Kuro users no longer subscribe to the service. While 7.1% of respondents said they were still Kuro members, 7.4% said they access the service using friends' or relatives' accounts.

The online survey was conducted online Oct. 16-17 and had 2,806 valid respondents.

"It shows local users are still reluctant to pay for online music, and the new site is short of key appeal to lure users," InsightXplorer said in a statement.

Kuro spokesperson Rod Lin admits that number of previous subscribers who have shifted to Yahoo-Kimo Music is small but declines to provide an exact figure.

Lin predicts many former Kuro subscribers will return to the service by the end of the year after Kuro launches a new platform with more value-added services.

"The fall [in business] is predictable in the transition period, so we are not concerned," he says.

Meanwhile, a study released Nov. 2 by the Market Intelligence Center, a government-sponsored research institute, predicts Taiwan's legitimate music-download market is now worth NT$480 million ($14.6 million), and projects that figure will grow by 48.8% to NT$720 million ($21.9) in 2007, as P2P services such as Kuro make the transition to a legal business model.

On average, users are willing to pay NT$117 ($3.56) a month on PC-based music downloads, slightly lower than the average monthly fee of NT$149 ($4.53) charged by major download-service operators, the study found.

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