Hutchison to Invest $60 Million in B2B Portal

HONG KONG (04/11/2000) - Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. today announced bigboxx.com, an business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce portal that will sell office supplies and services to corporations.

The portal will begin in April offering sales to Hutchison subsidiaries and customers of the company's A.S. Watson's office-supply stores, and will be opened to the public in June, according to Hutchison representative Anita Tsui.

Through the site, Hutchison will offer its own products and services as well as those of partners, according to a Hutchison statement. Operations initially will be limited to Hong Kong but eventually will be expanded to cover all of Asia, according to a company statement.

Hutchison will invest approximately US$60 million to operate the business for the first two to three years, Tsui said. The portal operation will be fully owned by Hutchison.

The announcement follows a flurry of recent e-commerce moves by Hutchison, including partnerships with Oracle Corp. to form a transportation exchange.

[See "Oracle, Hutchison Launch B2B Shipping Venture," March 28.] The company also partnered with U.S.-based Internet Capital Group to form an e-procurement joint venture and an incubator for B2B startups. [See "UPDATE: ICG, HK's Hutchison Tie Up on E-Commerce," March 10.]Hutchison holds interests in ports, shipping, telecommunications, retailing, and other industries worldwide.

Based in Hong Kong, Hutchison can be reached online at http://www.hutchison-whampoa.com.

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