1 June 2005
Sourcing Guide(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 03,2005)
Smart buyers from all over the world have found there is nothing like sourcing online when it comes to saving time and making money. Take, for example, M-EE Ventures Son BHD director Lau Chee Dai, who discovered the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) Sourcing Guide when he was developing a retail business in the relatively specialised area of children's footwear for the Malaysian market.
"We found the online Sourcing Guide extremely helpful," Lau recalls. "Being central to a huge array of suppliers and manufacturers from the most vibrant manufacturing hub in the world - the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan - Sourcing Guide allowed us to make initial contact and provided a quick, effective and comprehensive evaluation of potentially suitable suppliers, notwithstanding the relatively specialised nature of our business."
His enthusiasm is echoed by Rajdhani Bristle Traders proprietor Jagmohan Kapoor. "I had no problem using the TDC's online database to locate my matching suppliers," he insists. "It provides a wide range of products and services that can be utilised to the full to make the TDC and hkenterprise.com the masters of B2B online trade."
Their comments are music to the ears of TDC head of publications and e-commerce Clare Wong, who has seen the website develop in size and scope since it was introduced in 1996.
"There was an obvious need for an online sourcing tool that would allow buyers worldwide to search for high quality, competitively priced products on the Internet," Wong recollects.
Sourcing Guide at hkenterprise.com was instituted to meet this demand, and its success can be judged by the fact that its marketing, sourcing and partnering services currently draw an average of two million hits a day.
The introduction of a Greater China version now allows visitors to search for potential suppliers in the whole of the Greater China region as well as Hong Kong. The navigation bar allows a buyer looking for toys, for example, to search for toy makers by individual market - Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan or Macau - or by region.
Type in a product name or keyword and a list of Greater China suppliers and their details will appear on-screen. "We have more than 3,000 categories to cover all products," adds Wong.
She says Sourcing Guide is convenient, can be accessed whenever and wherever the buyer is online and is also efficient, as just one click provides access to banks of information.
"It is very cost-effective as buyers enjoy free access once they have registered online," Wong adds. "Sourcing Guide also features popular specialties like enquiry baskets, a message centre, new product alerts and recommended categories."
Sourcing Guide is a key component of the TDC's trade portal, tdctrade.com, which was voted "the best trade promotion portal in Asia" in an ACNielsen survey released in May 2003 and won CMP Asia's fourth Annual Intelligent20 Awards in November that year. "The tdctrade.com site also won a Standard of Excellence WebAward from the Web Marketing Association of the US in 2002, 2003 and 2004," Wong notes.
Sourcing Guide had 566,769 registered buyers as at January 31, 2005 as certified by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, and some 34,929,179 company records were retrieved last year.
Most visitors to hkenterprise.com are from Asia (28%), followed by the US (32%) and Europe (25%), with the rest split between Australia and Africa. "Just over 26% of visitors are importers, 16% are manufacturers and nearly 18% are wholesalers/retailers, providing a comprehensive balance that meets the needs of all business sectors," Wong maintains.
Reaction from Greater China advertisers and buyers has been highly positive, and the trade portal continues to go from strength to strength. "We are recruiting more advertisers from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan every day," Wong says.
These advertisers are doubtless attracted to hkenterprise.com by its keen pricing. "It costs US$1,500-4,000 a year to advertise on hkenterprise.com, giving small and medium-sized enterprises huge exposure for a very small price," Wong advises.
She believes that hkenterprise.com, together with print advertising in the TDC's flagship publication Hong Kong Enterprise and 13 other trade magazines, is a truly comprehensive package that cannot be beaten.
"hkenterprise.com is, ultimately, part of a one-stop-shop TDC sourcing service that will continue to evolve to meet the needs of local companies and worldwide buyers alike," Wong concludes.