E-commerce think-tank established in Singapore

An electronic commerce think-tank, ec.Think, has been set up to define and promote the Singapore electronic economy (eEconomy), via research and recognition programs.

Led by Andersen Consulting, and supported by Singapore's National Computer Board (NCB), ec.Think is a private sector consortium, funded by members including Cisco Systems, Fuji Xerox, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.

"There are no pre-existing models for what we call the eEconomy. Many CEOs I talk to are faced with this dilemma: 'Do we -- and how do we -- play with respect to e-commerce?' The feeling is that if we do not, we will lose out. If we do, we will probably lose money," said Willie Cheng, chairman, ec.Think and country managing partner, Andersen Consulting.

The research aspect of ec.Think will study the various electronic commerce business models and new sources of competitive advantage that Singapore enterprises can exploit. The research will be carried out by members of ec.Think and academics from Singapore's two universities. The results and papers of the research will be presented in a series of symposiums, two of which are planned for next year, beginning in January 2000.

Research will be focused on three areas: customers, suppliers and the value network. The research will draw on surveys conducted in the US and Taiwan, the results of which are validated in Singapore by using focus group techniques. The groups in Singapore will be chosen using criteria such as internet access and income levels.

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