1 July 2003
Fair-Goers Tour Cyber Marketplace As E-Commerce Options Expand(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 03,2002)
Vol 3, 2002
A NEW cyber marketplace created by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) at hkenterprise.com opened to Internet users worldwide on April 16.
Unveiled with onsite demonstrations during the Hong Kong Houseware Fair, this new e-business centre provides an array of trade-related services in the following categories: Sourcing Guide, Business Matching, Business Contacts and Trade Fairs.
Demonstrations resumed later in April during the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair. At both events, fair-goers in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre responded positively.
"The new services give me the easiest means to attain new business contacts in Hong Kong," said manager Maria Barciona from Almacenes Boyaca, a long-established Ecuadorian company.
She was enthusiastic about the Sourcing Guide, with its complete access to products, services and brands from 100,000 Hong Kong companies.
"We are a wholesaler and retailer in Ecuador," she said. "Hong Kong companies have been our trading partners for 35 years, and we always look for new business contacts.
"This Web site contains a very useful search engine and product categorization to help me contact the most suitable suppliers," Barciona added.
Blending the latest technology with TDC's 36-year experience in promoting international trade, the versatile cyber marketplace offers prospects for better business through:
easier access to new products and services;
- quick, convenient contact with new customers and partners;
- more sales; and
- added time for what matters.
"The TDC has assisted Hong Kong small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for more than 35 years and hkenterprise.com blends all that experience with the latest technology and serves as an online trade platform to match Hong Kong suppliers with overseas buyers, and local service providers with clients around the world," said TDC senior publications manager Henry Ng.
The Sourcing Guide section of the cyber marketplace features product archives and virtual showrooms where Hong Kong suppliers display product photos. Password-protected private cyber-showrooms also cater to sourcing needs.
Business Matching puts together potential partners through online postings of requests and offers involving products, services, agencies, distributors, partnerships, joint ventures, technology transfers, licensing and investment.
Users can tell the system what they are looking for and the matching engine will send all relevant postings to the user's My Favourites page. This service can automatically match postings and then e-mail potential partners to facilitate real business right away.
The Business Contacts section allows Hong Kong-based users to tap into TDC's unique database of 500,000 overseas and Chinese mainland companies for business contacts in more than 200 countries.
Meanwhile, the Trade Fairs category is an Internet customer service centre for exhibitors and buyers participating in TDC's international trade fairs in Hong Kong. Major services include free exhibitor/product listings, an online appointment scheduler for buyers to meet exhibitors, and detailed information about the fairs, along with travel, sightseeing and dining tips.
"With hkenterprise.com, TDC has upgraded its networking support to Hong Kong SMEs and their trade partners worldwide," said Ng.
The president of Spanish import/export company Chinotex, M Ibenali Amar, a frequent visitor to the Hong Kong Houseware Fair, also liked the online Trade Fairs services.
"These are an instant gateway to information and special customer services for leading international fairs in Hong Kong," Amar said.
Managing director Paul Kempsey, from UK housewares company Paton Calvert, said, "The Sourcing Guide is an ideal alternative tool to locate new products. Simultaneously, we get to know new suppliers."
Robin Fennell, vice-president of US company Norwood Promotional Products Inc, said the Sourcing Guide accelerated his ability to identify new Hong Kong suppliers and receive product details.
"We sell many products, from plastic toys to high-end crystal and sculptures. The Sourcing Guide can help us find all these," he said.
"Visual images help to identify what we need. I find lots of photos on the Sourcing Guide, which speeds our sourcing process."
Anna Chuang, from ACG Int'l Co of Hong Kong, described the cyber marketplace as very user-friendly. She highly recommended the Sourcing Guide's bookmark function. "That gives me easy access to all relevant information and saves a lot of time," she said.
The Sourcing Guide has state-of-the-art software to give personalized services based on a user's search history. Via new product alerts and recommended categories, the system notifies registered users about product information that may be of interest.
A message centre allows instant communication between buyers and suppliers around the world.
Kawachi Group chief executive Sachin Dharap of India, a subscriber to Hong Kong Enterprise magazine, found hkenterprise.com very impressive.
"With so much information from suppliers, the cyber marketplace is most useful to our import business," Dharap said.
Registration for hkenterprise.com is free and takes only a few minutes online.
"We believe this cyber marketplace can create a critical mass of business online to reinforce Hong Kong's premier position as a global trade platform in Asia," Ng said.
WRITTEN BY VANAPA ONGVISES