Prudent Buying Creates Partnerships

SINGAPORE (08/01/2000) - The recent market shakeup of Internet stocks has led electronic commerce sites to be more prudent over technology deployment than they were a half-year ago.

As funds have become more stringently controlled, e-businesses have become less aggressive with their spending, noted Michael Ang, executive vice president, Evergreen Internet Inc., a Java-based e-commerce software vendor.

"Our role as vendors, therefore, is to help these sites identify how they can work with our solutions to optimize their limited resources," he said. "The trend now is more towards partnerships, as these customers want a partner rather than just a vendor."

In their capacity as technology partners, vendors are expected to bring value to their customers, he explained.

"For example, no one vendor can provide all the features needed by a customer, so as a partner, vendors must advise their partners knowledgeably on best of breed combinations."

Meanwhile, unlike other vendors that have already started the practice of nurturing startups, Evergreen does not see a current need to do the same. But Ang realizes that it is inevitable that at some point in the future, his company would have to join the league.

The Evergreen office in Singapore started operations in January 2000, providing the Asia-Pacific region with what it describes as "100 percent open standards, cross-platform" e-commerce software.

The Singapore office is responsible for Evergreen Internet's sales, support, localization, and research and development activities.

"In Singapore, we have just acquired a developer of Wireless Applications Protocol (WAP) components and applications. Singapore will take the WAP lead (for the company) with products that will be announced within the next four weeks," Ang said.

Product development on smart card technology will also be done here.

"In the United States, smart cards are not as big," Ang noted.

Evergreen also plans to work with ISPs (Internet service providers) and ASPs (application service providers) in Asia to provide online store software for e-commerce sites, said Phillip Hong, vice president, sales and marketing for Asean, Evergreen Internet.

"The ISPs and ASPs can then resell the technology to 'mom and pop' stores," he said. "A fully functional store-front can be put up within a week."

Evergreen Internet is a member of recently launched and listed investment holding company, Internet Technology Group (ITG), which focuses on business-to-business e-commerce in the Asia-Pacific region.

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