Korean Chaebols to Announce E-Commerce Tie-up

Eight affiliates of Korea's top three business groups, or chaebol, and three independent companies this Wednesday will sign an agreement to create an e-commerce alliance, an executive at Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has told IDG News Service.

Jongduk Won, senior manager at Samsung Electronics' E-Commerce team, said the companies include his own and sister companies Samsung Card Co. Ltd. and Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd.; Hyundai group companies Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Fire and Marine Insurance Co. and Hyundai Oil Refinery Co. Ltd.; LG Group companies LG Telecom and LG Investment and Securities Co. Ltd. and independents Asiana Airlines Inc., Hanaro Telecom Inc. and e-commerce service provider Interpark.co.kr.

"The eleven companies are joining in establishing an alliance for marketing," Won said. "Later, we will discuss seriously whether we should have a joint venture or not."

Chief executive officers from each of the eleven companies will meet on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding that will formally establish the alliance, Won said. Although yet to be officially named, the alliance will initially operate under the temporary name of TruePortal.com.

The alliance will create a common Internet site through which customers will be able to access thousands of products from the eleven companies. These will include consumer electronics goods, financial services, airline tickets and automobiles.

For the businesses involved, the alliance means benefits through the sharing of customer data and combined promotion for the single site. Consumers will be able to access each of the companies' goods and Web sites with a single shopping account.

The spread of e-commerce was one of a number of goals outlined by South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung in his New Year message for this year. He expressed a wish for commercial transactions through the Internet to become an everyday routine and pledged to foster the conditions that will make using the Internet as easy as using the telephone.

Samsung Electronics, in Seoul, can be found on the Web at http://www.samsungelectronics.com/.

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