Putting teeth into its strategy to become a global knowledge company, IDG Books Worldwide has joined forces with two international publishing and distribution companies, one in Australia and one in Singapore, to better target its products in those regions.

In Australia, IDGB has partnered with its distributor, Woodslane Pty. Ltd. to form a new company, IDG Books Australia. IDGB is the majority owner of the new company, which will be based in Sydney and managed by Woodslane founder David Scott and director Tricia Wilden. According to IDGB CFO Jim D hrman, the company has leased space in Woodslane's building and will be using its distribution and sales forces, although about 10 new employees have been hired.

IDGB Australia will publish and market a range of IDGB Worldwide products, including the ...For Dummies brand and the ...Simplified, Teach Yourself...VISUALLY, Secrets and Bible series. In addition, it will produce local editions of IDGB titles. D hrman expects the local publishing program to produce more than 20 titles a year on the tech side and at least 20 a year in the trade area, which will include new and revised editions.

The partnership with Woodslane, which has distributed IDGB's products for 10 years, will also enable the company to become more competitive with its pricing. "By taking an interest in a company there, we can put resources into long-term brand development and reduce product costs. What's more, with Amazon.com opening up the market globally, we think it will enhance our reputation as a local publisher," D hrman told PW.

In Singapore, IDGB Worldwide has purchased 25% of TransQuest Publishers Pte Ltd., a new company founded by David Buckland, previously director of sales and marketing at Pearson's Singapore publishing unit, AWL. According to IDGB president Steve Berkowitz, TransQuest will distribute IDGB products in key Southeast Asian markets, specifically Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

IDGB's focus in Singapore for the moment will be primarily on distribution. Buckland, who was responsible for the IDGB line at Pearson before starting TransQuest (he left the company when Pearson acquired Simon &Schuster's reference and education divisions), expects to "aggressively expand the market reach for IDGB" in the Asian market. TransQuest has also signed sales, marketing and distribution agreements with O'Reilly, Sybex and Miller-Freeman.

In personnel news, Richard Swadley, formerly a senior v-p at Macmillan Computer Publishing, has been named head of the technology group. He succeeds Brenda McLaughlin, who will head up IDGB's new Internet group. Swadley, who will be a senior v-p, follows former MCP executive Roland Elgey to IDGB (News, Feb. 8). -R.F.