Chinese-speaking consumers in Los Angeles and across the country will have their own limited version of a 411-style phone directory service, starting today.
Monterey Park businessman Marty Shih and 30 Asian companies nationwide are launching the service after two months of testing that attracted 400 callers a day. The companies will advertise the number, (800) 777-CLUB, and Shih expects 2,000 directory calls a day.
There is no charge to consumers--who can obtain numbers of businesses and community and governmental services collected from the Rosemead-based Chinese Yellow Pages, Monterey Park's Chinese Daily News and other sources--or to the businesses listed. Residential numbers won't be available.
Shih, who last fall launched a money-making, toll-free telephone buying club aimed at Asians, said he developed the directory assistance program as a community service after discovering how difficult it was for Chinese-speaking callers to obtain numbers for something as basic as a utility company. He hopes that many callers will ultimately sign up for his buying club, which gives discounts for gifts, airline tickets and other services in exchange for a one-time membership fee.
Initially, the directory service will offer operators speaking Cantonese and Mandarin dialects. Later this year, Shih said, he hopes to add Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese operators, as he has done with the telephone buying club.